A man in a suit stands outside with the American Flag behind him.
Lt. Col. Joseph Huitt, a 2007 graduate of Augusta University, has honorably served in the United States Army for over 25 years. [Michael Holahan/Augusta University]

Lt. Col. Joseph Huitt’s winding path to AU began in the Army

A 2007 alumnus of Augusta University, Lt. Col. Joseph Huitt has enjoyed a distinguished military career spanning over 25 years of service with the United States Army.

As one might expect of a service member, every move since he joined the military has been tied to ways he can best serve his country, family and even his alma mater.

“The biggest thing I tell folks is, ‘Don’t be afraid to try different things. Don’t be afraid to fail. Keep looking for opportunities,’” said Huitt. “I didn’t join the Army until I was 21. I did other things before I joined the Army, and even throughout my time with the Army, I’ve done a myriad of things.”

Leaving the family business

Originally from Big Spring, Texas, Huitt bounced around between Dallas, San Diego and Las Vegas during his childhood, partially due to his stepfather’s job as a master glazier, someone who works in measuring, installing and repairing glass in houses, shops and offices. In fact, Huitt and his stepfather, Sam Hardwick, along with his grandfather and cousin, removed the old glass from Las Vegas’s famous Fremont Hotel and Casino and installed the new glass nearly 30 years ago.

After graduating from high school, Huitt said he didn’t have a clear vision for his future outside of the fact that he knew the normal path would be for him to go to college.

A man in a suit coat stands outside holding a photo of him, his wife and his son from when he graduated college.
Lt. Col. Joseph Huitt
[Michael Holahan/Augusta University]

“I did well enough in high school, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do after that. I knew you are supposed to go to college, but coming from a blue-collar family, we didn’t have money for college. Unfortunately, I wasn’t counseled on how to obtain financial support through scholarships, so I just didn’t attend college right out of high school. I was working with the family business,” Huitt said.

After five years in Las Vegas, Huitt’s stepfather decided to close the business to move back to San Diego to take another job, so on his 21st birthday, a day when some would normally find a reason to visit Las Vegas, Huitt left with his mom and stepfather.

Huitt knew that his family ties would only take him so far. One day, thumbing through a phone book to search for possible jobs, he came up with the idea of visiting the local recruitment office for the U.S. Coast Guard.

“I hadn’t even told my parents at the time, but I thought, ‘Let’s go see what the Coast Guard is all about.’ In San Diego, people were talking about the Coast Guard, so I looked up the address, called them up and drove out to go talk to them,” Huitt said.

There was just one problem: the office had moved and Huitt had difficulty finding it.

What he did find were the recruitment offices for other branches of the military: the Air Force, Navy, Marines and Army. While each group of recruiters seemed busy making phone calls and talking to people in their offices, the recruiters for the Army engaged him in conversation. By the time he left that day, he had signed a six-year contract.

“I came home, told my parents and they said, ‘You did what?’ They would have never dreamed that I would join the military. I was never against it; I just had never thought it was for me,” Huitt said with a chuckle.

Looking back on that day, Huitt said it was the best decision he ever made.

A man in suit coat leans against an old canon on a college campus.
Lt. Col. Joseph Huitt, a 2007 graduate of Augusta University, has honorably served in the United States Army for over 25 years. [Michael Holahan/Augusta University]
Creating steppingstones

When Huitt first enlisted in the Army in November 1998, only two things were certain: he wanted a steady job and he wanted to do something that would help him get a job after his service was completed.

“I didn’t want to do something that wouldn’t translate to the real world. That was the main thing I told them, ‘Look, I’m only doing this because I’m trying to make steppingstones to help with money for college and a pathway to something external from the military,’” he said.

A soldier in fatigues places a pin signifying a promotion onto the uniform of another soldier.
Huitt being promoted by RADM Jeffrey Harley,
president of the U.S. Naval War College.

Huitt’s aunt was a dental hygienist, so when he looked at the jobs the Army had available, he applied for and was assigned to the dental corps. It was something the recruiters noted they didn’t get a lot of requests about, but since Huitt had strong Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) scores, he was practically guaranteed to have the pick of what he wanted to do.

Huitt said, at the time, joining the dental corps to become a dental hygienist seemed like a great pathway to gain training and experience that he could later use to transition back into civilian life and eventually attend dental school. In the dental corps, there are two pathways for an enlisted soldier: dental hygiene or lab tech.

“I actually tried both but went to school for six months to become a lab tech after talking to one of the doctors I was working with. He said the hardest part about becoming a dentist is the lab work, so if you can figure out if you’re good at and enjoy lab work, you can actually do well in dental school,” said Huitt.

That decision led him to a city he had never heard of – Augusta, Georgia. Fort Eisenhower, then-Fort Gordon, has the only dental lab in the Army and is responsible for shipping prosthetics all over the world for soldiers.

Soldiers running outside during a training exercise.
Lt. Col. Joseph Huitt trained with Cameroon Rapid Intervention Battalion soldiers during a three-month support to U.S. Special Operations Command Africa at Man O’War Bay training site in West Africa.
Taking advantage of extra opportunities

After seemingly starting his career without much of a plan, Huitt made sure from then on to be strategic in taking advantage of every opportunity the Army afforded him. That included attending night classes to earn a degree.

When he arrived in Augusta as a sergeant, he was able to complete an associate degree from Georgia Military College, graduating summa cum laude. In doing so, however, Huitt realized every move he had made to that point had resulted in his losing academic credits, because not every class translated to other institutions.

He said he didn’t want to have to keep starting over, so when his six-year contract was up, he decided to transition from active-duty enlisted soldier to simultaneous membership program cadet in then-Augusta State University’s ROTC program and the Jaguar Battalion.

The program allowed him to serve with the Georgia National Guard and graduate with a commission as an officer. He even earned a scholarship through the Scholar-Athlete Leader Program.

Twelve servicemembers stand in front of a row of flags on a stage.
Lt. Col. Joseph Huitt (back row, left) graduated magna cum laude in 2007 as an ROTC distinguished military graduate and was commissioned as a military intelligence officer.

During that time, he also met the woman who would become his wife, Jamie. The two first met in 2002, and their relationship blossomed from there. Jamie had also served previously as an active-duty Marine for four years and continues to serve as a senior Department of Defense civilian employee, with over 26 years of federal service.

As he began pursuing the next steps in his education, Huitt realized his idea of becoming a dentist no longer appealed to him.

“I thought about going to dental school at the Medical College of Georgia back then, but I decided that wasn’t the route I wanted to go,” Huitt said. “I realized I would first have to complete my undergraduate degree, then go to dental school for another four years, and then do residency and specialty. At the time, I just wanted to commission and not worry about all of that, as I had a family to consider, and that pathway was not as clear.”

A man wearing college graduation gown and stole stands next to a woman holding a toddler.
Lt. Col. Joseph Huitt with his wife, Jamie, and
their eldest son, Jayden, at his graduation
ceremony from Augusta State in 2007.

When he enrolled at Augusta, he decided to study criminal justice and military history at Pamplin College of Art, Humanities, and Social Sciences, even taking several classes taught by a young professor who went on to become the college’s dean, Kim Davies, PhD. He also credits Richard Goolsby, JD, and Raymond Whiting, PhD, as helping him find his path.

Huitt ultimately graduated magna cum laude in 2007 as an ROTC distinguished military graduate and was commissioned as a military intelligence officer.

“There were lots of opportunities to talk with professors and talk with peers to really understand what it is that I wanted to do, so that’s what helped shape the degree path that I chose.”

Strategically moving towards cyber

Since commissioning, Huitt has continued to be strategic in how he approaches decisions regarding his career. One of his most significant decisions was to join U.S. Army Cyber when it became a separate branch.

A Kenyan Defence Forces director hands a certificate and shakes the hand of a U.S. lieutenant colonel outside the Military Intelligence Corps Headquarters in Kenya.
Lt. Col. Joseph Huitt in Kenya, then a major, with Col.
Owili, the Cyber Branch director of the Kenya Defence
Forces Directorate of Military Intelligence.

During his time with Army Cyber, Huitt created the ROTC internship program to help cadets gain valuable experience. As the deputy director for talent management at the 3-Star Army Cyber Command Headquarters, he also helped recruit fellows and interns, many from his alma mater.

In 2018, he was a cyber officer with the rank of major assigned to the cyber protection brigade focused on defensive cyber operations, serving as a cyber protection team lead for 18 months followed by battalion executive officer for another 18 months. At the end of that second term, his three-year contract was up, meaning he could pursue a position elsewhere.

At the time, Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, then the commanding general of Army Cyber, was emphasizing everything related to information advantage, so Huitt sought a permanent change of station to move to the Army Cyber headquarters.

READ MORE: Augusta University, U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence partner to create two online master’s programs to better serve soldiers

During the change of station, Huitt connected with Craig Albert, PhD. Albert was building his recommendations for a new program on information warfare. Albert ended up inviting Huitt to review student papers and serve on a panel to share his experiences with AU students.

“It was a great experience and led to Dr. Albert asking if I was interested in writing a paper with him and Dr. Lance Hunter,” Huitt said. “I hadn’t really thought about doing something like that, but when you are surrounded by great people, you want to do the work.”

Two men in suits walk down a hallway while talking to each other.
Lt. Col. Joseph Huitt and Craig Albert, PhD, worked with Lance Hunter, PhD, Lydia Snider and Samantha Mullaney to publish “Weaponizing Words: Using Technology to Proliferate Information Warfare.” [Michael Holahan/Augusta University]

Albert introduced Huitt to Hunter and the three, along with Samantha Mullaney, a 2022 graduate of AU’s Master of Arts in Intelligence and Security Studies (MAISS) program, worked for the next two years on writing “Weaponizing Words: Using Technology to Proliferate Information Warfare.”

Originally, the paper covered both Russia and China, but after careful consideration and input from peers, they cut the nearly 40-page manuscript down to focus more heavily on China, and it was published in Cyber Defense Review.

A United States soldier stands in front of the American flag wearing his full dress uniform.

Today, Huitt serves as Maj. General Paul Stanton’s executive officer at the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence. He said he’s grateful for what Augusta has offered not only himself, but his family. He credits his and his boys’ success to his amazing wife, who understands the challenging requirements and workload of a service member.

“She always said, ‘You take care of work, and I’ll take care of the house,’ albeit working full time and serving the country herself.”

His eldest son is a second-year student studying nursing at AU, while his younger son, who will be a junior at Greenbrier High School this fall, is also leaning toward a career in health care, as well.

Huitt said that knowing one of his sons is pursuing opportunities at his alma mater with the other looking for his own path, he can’t help but feel a sense of pride at how his career has progressed. And he’s not done with service to his country or alma mater, just yet.

“What I’ve always done is gone back to Augusta University and asked, ‘How can I help?’”

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
man with glasses standing in front of blue background
Written by
Milledge Austin

Milledge Austin is the manager of external communications for Communications and Marketing at Augusta University. Contact him to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at miaustin@augusta.edu.

View all articles
man with glasses standing in front of blue background Written by Milledge Austin

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

graphic that says download jag mobile with icon buttons below that say download on app store and download on google play with a picture of a phone