The illegal production and trafficking of drugs undermines security and stability in Latin America, the Caribbean and threatens U.S. national security. The threat can only be combated through cooperation and collaboration between partner nations. JIATFS works with partner nations and U.S. law enforcement agencies to reduce the drug threat.
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John P. Becker - Directorate of Resources
John Becker became the Director of Resources for the Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATFS) on 12 December 2005.
He graduated from the United States Military Academy and received his commission in the United States Army in 1978. He also earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Chicago.
His Combat Arms experience encompasses over 27 years of both enlisted and commissioned Active Duty and Reserve service in the Infantry and Armor, where he has led soldiers as a Platoon Leader, a Company Commander, a Battalion S-3, a Battalion Executive Officer, a Battalion Commander, and in his last assignment as a Brigade Commander at Fort Dix, New Jersey.
John’s Combat Service Support service includes both Personnel and Financial Management experience as the Comptroller for the 17th Aviation Group in the Republic of Korea, the Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, Personnel for the 78th Division, and as the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8 (Comptroller) for the 77th Regional Readiness Command.
He also has extensive experience in the private sector, where he has served in a variety of increasingly responsible management positions in Sales, Marketing, Product Management, Total Quality Management, Training and Leadership Development, and in Customer Service. In his most recent position, he held executive level responsibility for the Customer Service Team of an international chemical company.
John is a graduate of the US Army Airborne School, US Army Ranger School, US Army Armor Officer Basic Course, US Army Finance Officer Advance Course, US Army Combined Arms Services Staff School, and the US Army Command and General Staff College.
He has been awarded the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (3 awards), Army Commendation Medal, US Army Humanitarian Service Medal, the US Army Achievement Medal, the Parachutist Badge, and the United States Army Ranger Tab.
Robert J. Allen - J2 Intel
Colonel Neal Pugliese - J3 Operations
Col Pugliese attended recruit training at MCRD San Diego on May 5th, 1982. Following Boot Camp, he served in a wide variety of assignments within the Marine Corps Reserve ranging from a Rifleman to Platoon Sergeant. While in the Reserves, Col Pugliese attended Eastern Illinois University and earned a degree in Communications.
Following his assignment as a Platoon Sergeant, Col Pugliese was accepted into OCS and various other schools. Since graduating from OCS and over the past two decades Col Pugliese has served in a wide variety of assignments within the Operating Forces and the Supporting Establishment as a Commander, Executive Officer, or Operations Officer.
While serving in the Operating Forces, Col Pugliese has served in assignments ranging from Platoon Commander to Camp Commander (OCONUS), and Acting Regimental Commander (OCONUS). Further, Col Pugliese has served in every Marine Corps Infantry Division and as a member of four Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU SOC).
Between tours in the Operating Forces, Col Pugliese has served in various supporting establishment and professional educational assignments. Those assignments include Marine Security Forces, Guantanamo Bay Cuba, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, The School of Infantry (West), and the United States Military Entrance Processing Command at Los Angeles.
Col Pugliese is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Course, the Amphibious Warfare School, the Advanced Infantry Officer’s Course, the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the Naval War College. Col Pugliese’s personal awards range from the Navy Achievement Medal to the Bronze Star with V.
Col Pugliese is married to the former Martha R. Sheppard from Washington Courthouse, Ohio and they have one son, Nicholas. The Pugliese’s currently live in Key West, FL.
Scott F. McCollum - J4 Logistics
Mr. McCollum became the Director of Logistics for Joint Interagency Task Force South in August 2008.
He previously served as the JIATF South Deputy Director of Logistics from October 2005 through August 2008. Mr. McCollum became a Department of Army Civilian with JIATF East in February 2000 and was assigned as the Intelligence Resource Manager and Chief of the Intelligence Programs Division. He served as the principle advisor to the J2 on all matters involving resource management and execution to include programming, plans, budget, manpower/personnel, logistics support, contracting, and facility issues.
Mr. McCollum retired from the U.S. Navy in January 1999 and first reported to Joint Task Force Four/Joint Interagency Task Force East in June 1992 as an Intelligence Watch Officer. He also served as the Chief of Intelligence Watch Operations; Chief of the Tactical Analysis Branch; and Deputy Chief of the Joint Fusion Center/OPINTEL Division. During this tour, JTF-4/JIATF East established new records for maritime drug seizures, including the seizure of over 12 metric tons of cocaine found on the fishing vessel Nataly I.
Mr. McCollum’s active duty Intelligence Officer assignments included the Enterprise (CVN-65) Battle Group/Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group Twelve staff from 1996-1998 to support Battle Group operating forces while deployed to the Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf theaters; Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School (CAEWWS) as an instructor from 1990-1992; VAW-112, deployed to the Western Pacific/Arabian Gulf aboard the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) in 1988-1989; and with VAW-111 in 1987.
A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Mr. McCollum enlisted in the U.S. Navy as an Aviation Anti-Submarine Warfare Operator in 1978 and served as a naval aircrewman in the S-3A Viking, deploying with VS-29 aboard the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) to the Western Pacific/Indian Ocean in 1981 and the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) on her world cruise in 1983. From 1984-1986 he served with VS-41 as an aircrew instructor. During this time, Mr. McCollum earned his Associate of Arts Degree from the University of Laverne, California and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aviation Management from Southern Illinois University. In 1986, he was selected for promotion to both Chief Petty Officer and as an Intelligence Officer Candidate for Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida, where he achieved Distinguished Graduate honors. He was commissioned as a Naval Intelligence Officer in October 1986.
Director Geoff Ellerson - Colonel U.S.A
Colonel Geoffrey D. Ellerson was commissioned a lieutenant of Infantry through the Reserve Officer Training Corps Program, Georgia Southwestern State University, Americus, Georgia in 1988.
His previous assignments include Rifle Platoon Leader, Scout Platoon Leader, and Assistant Operations Officer in 5th Battalion, 21st Infantry (Light), 2nd Brigade, 7th Infantry Division (Light), Fort Ord California. While assigned to Fort Ord, Colonel Ellerson deployed in support of Operation JUST CAUSE (Panama), Operation PROMOTE LIBERTY (Panama), Operation GARDEN PLOT (Los Angeles California), and as a United Nations Military Observer in Cambodia. After attending the Armor Officer Advanced Course at Fort Knox Kentucky he was assigned to Fort Polk Louisiana and served as a Plans Officer and Cavalry Troop Commander in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. While assigned to Fort Polk, Colonel Ellerson deployed his Cavalry Troop to Port au Prince Haiti in support of the United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH).
Following his assignment in Louisiana, Colonel Ellerson served as a Small Group Instructor for the Infantry Officer Advanced Course and commanded a Company in 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment, Fort Benning Georgia. After attending the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Colonel Ellerson was assigned to Fort Stewart Georgia where he served as the Battalion Operations Officer and Executive Officer for 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. While assigned to Fort Stewart, Colonel Ellerson deployed to Bosnia in support of SFOR 8. He was next assigned to Fort Leavenworth Kansas and served as a Tactics Instructor and Course Author for the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Following his assignment in Kansas, Colonel Ellerson served as the Chief, U.S. War Plans for the U. S. Military Training Mission (USMTM), Riyadh Saudi Arabia.. In 2005 Colonel Ellerson assumed command of the 2d Battalion, 11h Infantry Regiment at Fort Benning Georgia.. Following battalion command, he deployed for a 24 month tour as a combat advisor in support of OIF. While in Iraq, he served as the Senior Advisor to 3rd Brigade, 1st National Police Division in Baghdad and 3rd National Police Division in Mosul. Following his tour in Iraq, Colonel Ellerson was once again assigned to Fort Benning Georgia and served as the Director for Soldier Requirements. He then again deployed to Afghanistan for a 18 month tour as a Combat Advisor in support of OEF. During this tour Colonel Ellerson served as the Senior Advisor to the Afghan Uniformed Police Headquarters in Kandahar. Following his tour in Afghanistan, COL Ellerson assumed his duties as J5, Director of Plans and Policy, Joint Interagency Task Force South, Key West Florida.
His military education includes the Infantry Officer Basic Course, the Armor Officer Advanced Course, and the United States Army Command and General Staff College. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Sociology from Georgia Southwestern State University and a Masters Degree in Education from Troy Uuniversity.
Colonel Ellerson’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, the Bronze Star Medal (w/2OLC), Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (w/3OLC), Joint Service Commendation Medal (w/2OLC)Army Commendation Medal (w/2OLC), Army Achievement Medal, Combat Infantryman’s Badge (2nd Award), Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Parachutist Badge, and Ranger Tab.
Colonel Ellerson is married to Suzy Lynn Teal of Panama City Beach Florida. They have 3 sons, Nikolas – US Army, Geoffrey, and Joshua –US Army.
Dr. Scott Bolen - J6 C4I Systems
Dr. Scott Bolen has more than 24 years of Federal government experience as a supervisor, program manager, research scientist, and intelligence analyst. In 2008 he joined the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Science and Technology Directorate as a Senior Program Manager where he directed the development and deployment of critical technologies to thwart transnational criminal activities linked to narco-terrorist operations. He led diverse interagency teams across multiple federal offices in developing collective strategies, techniques, and technologies that strengthen intelligence gathering, analysis, targeting, and interdiction of highly mobile, high value targets.
He has considerable experience in developing data processing, information analytics, and remote sensing systems. He has successfully implemented new exploitation capabilities, data architectures, and Information Technologies (IT) improving the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) systems of DHS law enforcement customers.
Dr. Bolen is a recognized expert in electromagnetic propagation with application to radar, electro-optic, and infrared sensors – he holds a patent in the radar sciences field and has published numerous technical articles. Dr. Bolen is a highly qualified and distinguished program manager certified as an acquisition professional with several government departments. In 2010, Dr. Bolen was awarded the Under Secretary’s Award for Program Management in Science & Technology.
Prior to joining DHS, Dr. Bolen served prominently in multiple analytic and leadership positions at several intelligence agencies. He has earned Joint Duty Credit for his contributions to the intelligence community.
Dr. Bolen has a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Electrical Engineering from Colorado State University.
Fred Scali - J7 Information and Technology
Since October 2012, Fred Scali has served as the Joint Interagency Task Force South Director of Innovation and Technology. This new Directorate combines the efforts of the Command Science Advisor with the Chief of Innovation and Technology Office duties to create a more robust approach to providing emerging tactical capabilities to the counter illicit trafficking fight. Fred Scali served as the Command Science Advisor from 2006 until this recent reorganization. Previously, he spent seven years as the Space and Naval Warfare System Center’s on-site engineering and management liaison to JIATF South and CARIBROC. Other civilian positions that Mr. Scali has held at JIATF South include network administrator in the C4ISR Directorate and Interagency Counterdrug Performance Assessment Working Group (ICPAWG) coordinator in the Intelligence Directorate.
From 1989 to 1995, Fred “Fish” Scali served as a United States Marine Corps Electronic Countermeasures Officer on the EA-6B Prowler in VAQ-129, VMAQ-2 and VMAQ-3 and spent time deployed to Bahrain, Japan, the Philippines, the Republic of South Korea, and Norway.
Capt. Scali first came to JIATF East in 1995 and served as the Aide de Camp for two Directors. Later, as a Reservist, Maj Scali qualified and served three years on the JIATF South operations watch floor as a Command Duty Officer (CDO) and deployed for several operations in South and Central America. Later as a LtCol, he assisted the Plans Directorate on special projects.
Additional USMC Reserve billets held include OIF/OEF Crisis Action Team watch officer for MARFORCEN, MARFORPAC Joint Forces Liaison to US Forces – Korea, and Marine Air Liaison to the 7th Air Force.
Mr. Scali received his Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland in College Park and he earned a Master of Science degree in Systems Engineering with a Space Systems certificate from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.