Dense Urban & Subterranean Cell (DUSC)

The Dense Urban & Subterranean Cell (DUSC) is a cadre of current and veteran urban security practitioners who have demonstrably committed their lives and their careers to confronting the complex challenges of the dense urban environment and facilitating the health and well-being of those that reside within. Members are diligently selected for this role by NCUO leadership based on their experience and performance. Each plays a continuing role supporting conceptual, educational, training, and material solution development. Inclusion in the below list does imply professional endorsement of the NCUO mission and orgaization but does not imply financial or contractual relationships. NCUO reserves the right to revoke inclusion at the discretion of leadership. The DUSC crest reflects the iconography of the US Army’s now-deactivated Asymmetric Warfare Group, an organization whose mission, men, and contributions are already missed by the Joint Force. 

                                                                                                            Think. Adapt. Anticipate.


  • Alexander John Boosalis. US Army 75th Ranger Veteran. Georgetown Master of Security Candidate. NCUO Intern 2021. 
  • Justin Bosanko. US Army Asymmetric Warfare & Psychological Operations Lieutenant Colonel (Retired). 20+ Years Service.
  • Thomas Bowen. Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent. 
  • Griffin Brand. US Army 75th Ranger Regiment & Infantry Officer.
  • William “Billy” Carlson. New York City Fire Department Firefighter (Retired). 20+ Years Service.
  • Dennis Castellanos. US Army Special Forces Chief Warrant Officer Five & 75th Ranger Regiment Leader. 30+ Years Service.
  • Max Cheng. US Army Infantry Officer. NCUO Intern 2022. 
  • Salvator D’Agostino. Fire Department of New York Firefighter. Word Trade Center Collapse Survivor. 20+ Years Service. 
  • Dan Daly. US Navy SEAL Chief Warrant Officer Three (Retired). US Army Asymmetric Warfare Expert. 30+ Years Service.
  • Logan Dannemiller. US Army 75th Ranger Regiment & Infantry Officer. 10+ Years Service.
  • Caleb Dexter. Army Asymmetric Warfare & Military Intelligence Officer. NCUO Non-Resident Fellow, Japan. 10+ Years Service.
  • Joshua Hubbard. US Army 75th Ranger Regiment and Infantry Sergeant Major. 15+ Years Service.


  • Thor Johannessen. New York City Fire Department Battalion Chief. US Army Infantry Officer. 30+ Years Service. 
  • Seamus Ryan-Johnson. US Army Military Intelligence Officer. Georgetown Master of Security Studies. NCUO Intern 2020. 
  • Robert “Bob” Karmazin. US Army Special Forces Major General (Retired). NJ State Police Senior Officer.  30+ Years Service. 
  • Richard “Rick” Lamb. US Army Special Forces Command Sergeant Major and 75th Ranger Leader. 40+ Years Service. 
  • Eric Linn. US Army Infantry Sergeant Major. 20+ Years Service.
  • Sean Lucas. NYC Civil Support Team 24 Weapons of Mass Destruction Response Infantry Captain. 10+ Years Service. 
  • Art Mogil. New York City Police Department Counterterrorism Lieutenant (Retired). Special Forces Engineer. 25+ Years Service. 
  • Brady Moore. US Army Special Forces Officer. Sensors & Smart Cities Subject Matter Expert. 15+ Years Service. 
  • Brendan O’Connor. US Army Special Forces Medic & Asymmetric Warfare Sergeant Major (Retired). 40+ Years Service. 
  • Ben Phocas, US Army Cadet. United States Military Academy at Westpoint & MWI Urban Warfare Project. NCUO Intern 2023. 
  • Alexander Pytlar. US Army Armor Officer. Columbia Master of International Affairs. NCUO Intern 2019. 

John Wharton

Major General (Retired) John Wharton is Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of the NCUO. He completed 34 years of service in uniform as Commander of the Army’s Research Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM). His commands include, among many others, the Army’s Sustainment Command, Commanding General US Army Central G4, and premier sustainment roles with the 101st Airborne, 82nd Airborne, 10th Mountain Division, and 25th Infantry Division. John holds degrees from the United States Military Academy and Naval War College. Within the NCUO, John places special emphasis on material solutions to the challenges of urban operations.

Patrick Mahaney

Colonel (Retired) Patrick Mahaney is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NCUO, adjunct professor at Columbia University, and a Senior Advisor to the Department of Defense National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) capabilities accelerator. Pat has served over thirty years in uniform, nine combat tours, and commanded the US Army Asymmetric Warfare Group and 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group in combat, among others. He holds degrees from New York, Columbia, and Perugia (Italy) Universities. His vision and persistence while the Director of the Chief of Staff of the Army’s Strategic Studies Group (CSA SSG) resulted in the Army’s Dense Urban & Subterranean Community of Practice Assembly (DUST COPA), AWG’s Dense Urban Terrain Detachment, HQDA’s Dense Urban Studies Strategic Broadening Seminar, and the DOD’s Megacity Conference Series among other initiatives.

Joe Vega

Sergeant Major (Retired) Joseph Vega is the Deputy Director for the NCUO and former Detachment Lead of the Asymmetric Warfare Group’s Subterranean Operations Cell (SubTOC). Joe has spent more than thirty years as a warfighter, serving at every rank of enlisted Soldier: first as a Ranger, then a Green Beret, and finally as an Operator with Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta (SFOD-D). Joe has deployed multiple times to Panama, Colombia, Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, to name a few; is a qualified SFOD-D heavy master breacher with experience breaching the world’s most sophisticated obstacles; has trained over thirty Brigade Combat Teams, Ranger Battalions, and Special Forces Groups in the tactics, techniques, and considerations of hard target defeat and subterranean combat; and is one of the principal authors of the Army’s Training Publication 3-21.51 Subterranean Operations (2019).

James Spencer

Command Sergeant Major (Retired) James Spencer is a Senior Operational Advisor with the NCUO. He served over twenty years in the US Army as a Special Operations Ranger Infantryman, leading at every echelon of the 75th Ranger Regiment from Rifleman to Battalion Command Sergeant Major with speciality assignments to the Ranger Sniper & Observation Team (SNOT) Platoon and Ranger Requirements, Acquisitions, Integration, and Development (RAID) Cell. He led Rangers in multiple combat deployments to Iraq & Afghanistan, served as a Troop Sergeant Major in the Asymmetric Warfare Group, and was selected to Liasion on behalf of the SOCOM Commander with the SOF AT&L Join Acquisition Task Force (JATF). 


Brian Higgins

Lieutenant Colonel Brian Higgins is the US Army Fellow with the NCUO and an Infantry Officer with 22 years of service and multiple deployments currently serving as the Interagency Coordination Chief with Task force 46. TF 46 is a deployable National Guard element that provides mission command of military response forces in support of civilian responders in order to manage catastrophic chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) incidents. Previously, Brian served as the Asymmetric Warfare Group (AWG) Dense Urban Terrain Detachment Officer in Charge focused on the expansion of urban efforts  across  the DOTMLPF-P framework out of New York City.  In addition to his military service, Brian has over 1years in uniform with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) where he is a Detective assigned to the Emergency Service Unit (ESU) of the Special Operations Division. His most recent assignment within ESU was with the Apprehension Tactical Team, executing hundreds of high-risk search warrants citywide on an annual basis. Brian is a graduate of Marist College and earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from The John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Jose Gordon

Master Sergeant (Retired) Jose Gordon is the Senior Operational Advisor with the NCUO and actively works to generate irregular warfare solutions to address capability gaps during subterranean operations (SbTO). He spent his career in uniform leading Rangers in the 75th Ranger Regiment, fighting in Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Bosnia, and Afghanistan in over 25 deployments. During this time, he helped develop the Army’s current doctrine for subterranean maneuver and specialized progressive breaching. After retirement, he continued to serve in the Asymmetric Warfare Group (AWG) under then Colonel Patrick Mahaney, leading operational advisors to improve combat proficiency of Soldiers across the joint force. While in AWG, he trained every one of the Army’s twenty-eight Brigade Combat Teams in subterranean maneuver operations. Through NCUO, he remains actively involved improving the proficiency of Rangers and Green Berets in confined space clearance.

Stephanie Mahaney

Stephanie Mahaney is the National Center for Urban Operations’ Research Fellow. She holds a Master’s in Public Policy from Columbia’s School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA).

Art Mogil

NYPD Lieutenant (Retired) Art Mogil is the NCUO’s Law Enforcement Fellow. He is a recently retired Special Forces Engineer and actively serving as a research, development, technology & engineering (RDT&E) advisor for the 75th Innovation Command and Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) of Army Futures Command. He has deployed to Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and with Defense Intelligence Agency’s Joint Interagency Task Force
(JITF)- Counterterrorism (CT) Weapons Branch in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Art retired after 23 years from his full time job with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in 2020, sixteen of which were spent in the Counterterrorism Division. Within, he served as a supervisor, section chief in chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear explosives (CBRNE), and subsequently in the special projects division. His work focused on solution development for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) detection, recognition, and mitigation.


Clay is the inaugural F. T. Aquilino 9/11 Memorial Fellow with the NCUO and actively works to generate irregular warfare solutions to address tactical offensive capability gaps. He continues to serve in the Army as a Special Operations Airborne Ranger-qualified Mission Leader, with experience leading in the US Army 75th Ranger Regiment and training Special Forces as an Irregular Warfare Officer. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Princeton University and a Master’s degree in Counterterrorism and Substate Violence Prevention from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.