Official photo of Captain James Fanell

Capt. Fanell, a native of California, is a graduate from San Diego State University in 1985 with a B.A. degree in History and Political Science and the University of Hawaii with a M.A. in History in 1997. Commissioned through OCS in 1986, he graduated from Naval Intelligence Officer Basic Course in Virginia in 1987. He reported as a plankowner to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141 and deployed to the Mediterranean aboard USS Coral Sea (CV 43) with VAQ-133. During that deployment Capt. Fanell was diagnosed with cancer and underwent chemotherapy and surgery in Madigan Army Hospital in Tacoma, Washington.

Upon recovery, he was assigned to the Intelligence Center of the Pacific (IPAC) at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, where he was assigned to the Targeting Division, responsible for Soviet Far East air defense targets. As a distinguished graduate of the USAF Combat Targeting Officer Course, he was a team chief for one of Pacific Command’s bomb damage assessment (BDA) teams responsible for BDA reporting of Iraqi targets during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

In 1991, he reported as a plankowner to the Joint Intelligence Center, Pacific (JICPAC), where he was selected as one of the first Chinese maritime watch officers, was one of the last Soviet bastion watch officers and served as the operations intelligence officer, responsible for the current operational intelligence support to all of Pacific Command’s deployed forces.

In 1993, Capt. Fanell again reported as a plankowner, this time to the Joint Intelligence Training Activity, Pacific (JITAP) where he developed joint training courses, instructed Targeting, BDA and JFACC courses and served as the assistant operations officer for JITAP and the collocated Fleet Intelligence Training Center, Pacific (FITCPAC). He also conducted a four-month temporary assignment as the Joint Task Force Southwest Asia (JTF-SWA) J2’s chief of targets supporting Operation Southern Watch during the summer of 1994.

From 1996 to 1998, he was assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 as the intelligence officer, with deployments to the Arabian Gulf aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). From 1998-1999, Capt. Fanell was a distinguished graduate of the USAF Air Command and Staff College, earning a Master of Military Operational Art and Science degree. From 1999 to 2003 he was assigned to the staff of Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet Intelligence Directorate as the Fleet Support, Intelligence Readiness, and as a plankowner for Joint Task Force 519 as its first targeting officer.

From 2003 to 2005 he served as the Carrier Strike Group 5 intelligence officer again aboard Kitty Hawk this time with the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) home-ported in Yokosuka, Japan. Capt. Fanell continued his analysis of China and their navy as a national security affairs fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University from 2005 to 2006. From 2006 to 2008 he served as the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)’s China senior intelligence officer. Capt. Fanell returned to the Far East when from 2008 to 2010 he served as the assistant chief of staff for intelligence to Commander U.S. 7th Fleet aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19).

Capt. Fanell is the moderator of the defense and academic related Red Star Rising information service dedicated to monitoring the rise of China and its impact upon U.S. national security interests throughout Asia. He has also authored several articles in the Hoover Digest, Proceedings, and Naval Intelligence Professionals Quarterly.

Capt. Fanell most recently served as the deputy director for the Navy’s Information Dominance Corps Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Capabilities Division. He has earned his Private Pilot, Single Engine Land (SEL) license and completed Ironman Australia.