Maritime Staff Operators Course
College of Operational and Strategic Leadership
Professor Sean Henseler was commissioned in 1989 as a Distinguished Naval Graduate from Aviation Officers Candidate School in Pensacola, FL. After supporting counter-narcotic operations as part of the Commander, Joint Task Force FOUR staff in Key West, FL he graduated from the Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center as an Aviation Intelligence Officer in 1990. He then made two WESTPAC deployments with VA-145 and CVW-2 aboard the USS Ranger (CV-61) participating in Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and Southern Watch. He earned COMATVAQWINGPAC Intelligence Officer of the Year honors 1990-92 and contributed to VA-145’s winning the Rear Adm. Wade C. McCluskey Award as the Navy’s best attack squadron.
After tours at the Office of Naval Intelligence and the National Military Joint Intelligence Center at the Pentagon, Henseler was selected to enter the Navy’s Law Education Program. After graduating the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law he served as a prosecutor and Special Assistant United States Attorney in Norfolk, VA.
After graduating from the Naval War College in Newport, RI in 2001 as the President’s Honor Graduate, he was assigned as the Staff Judge Advocate for Commander Carrier Group SIX in Mayport, FL. As the SJA for the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) Battle Group Henseler deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, acted as the legal advisor to Commander Task Force 50, and was selected as the “2001-2002 Outstanding Young Military Lawyer for the US Navy.” He then immediately redeployed aboard the USS MT. Whitney (LCC-20) to Djibouti as deputy SJA for Commander, Joint Task Force Horn of Africa.
Henseler was next assigned to the Naval Justice School in Newport where he helped establish the Operational Law Department and provided operational law training to senior line and staff officers throughout the Navy. In 2006 he took part in Operation Iraqi Freedom as the Chief of Detention, Judicial, and Legal operations on the legal staff of Commander, Multi-National Forces Iraq in Baghdad acting as the primary legal advisor to the Commanding General responsible for over 14,000 Iraqi detainees. He also acted as the Officer in Charge of the US-Iraq Bi-lateral Inspection team which uncovered significant abuse in the Iraqi detention system.
In 2008 he served in Iraq as the legal advisor to the Iraqi Governance Assessment Team chartered by Commander MNF-I and the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and later traveled to Tajikistan and Qatar as part of the Central Command Assessment team tasked to develop a strategy for Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and the entire Central Command AOR.
He retired as the Howard S. Levie Military Chair of Operational Law at the Naval War College and holds degrees from the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law (J.D), Georgetown University (M.A. National Security Studies), the Naval War College (M.A. National Security Studies), and Babson College (B.S. Business Management). His personal awards include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (3), Navy Commendation Medal (3), Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the Navy Achievement Medal.