This photo was taken in October 2019 outside a military headquarters in Tallin, Estonia, with an old military vehicle from the first world war.

PSIA alumnus Captain James M. Adams, a political science student from 2011 to 2015, recently had the privilege of working at the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn, Estonia. James is now commanding a Forward Support Company at Fort Riley, Kansas.

At the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn, James served as a temporary liaison to several U.S. military headquarters in Europe and worked in the Office of Defense Cooperation. His mission was to assist the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) in their efforts to deter regional aggression through the U.S. 333 military assistance program. He served in Tallinn between August and October 2019. After arriving in Germany, James was selected by his Brigade Commander for the temporary assignment after conducting a competitive interview process.

Program 333 is part of U.S. law, where the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense jointly work to coordinate the program’s objectives to assist foreign militaries. James interfaced primarily with the Estonian military, and facilitated numerous official U.S. visits to determine the best military assistance for the Estonian government.  He also worked hand in hand with the British Battle Group of the Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) and made enduring friendships with British Army Officers that he cherishes.

James says that his time in Estonia was a “remarkable experience.” He notes that the Estonians  appreciate the Americans’ assistance and are genuinely grateful towards our steadfast alliance. Estonia, a small country with a population of approximately 1.5 million people, was occupied by the Soviet Union until 1993. As there are lingering difficulties from the Cold War, the Estonians are still enduring cultural challenges and building their military. James saw “a distinct reverence” among the people he was privileged to work with while conducting his official duties.

At UNG, James was a Political Science major, where he took several International Affairs courses. These courses offered him a perspective to meaningfully engage with foreign governments. For him, the greatest value from his UNG coursework was being prepared to enter a foreign country with a framework of both global and American perspectives.

Some of the UNG classes that stood out for him include Comparative Government, domestic policy courses, international political economy, and constitutional law. These courses were taught by a litany of skilled instructors to include Dr. Barry Friedman, Dr. Carl Cavalli, Dr. Craig Greathouse, and Dr. Trey Wilson. They offered an array of perspectives that serve him well in his career as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Army.

Another course that helped him during this unique assignment was on comparative security issues with PSIA Department Head, Dr. Dlynn Armstrong Williams.

At Fort Riley, James is currently in command of a Forward Support Company at an Assault Helicopter Battalion in a Combat Aviation Brigade. There, he manages 73 soldiers and a multitude of equipment to provide sustainment to helicopters and personnel. To accomplish their important mission he leverages the talents of his Soldiers which have 12 varied and professionally credentialed skill sets that the Army calls Military Occupational Specialties. Captain James M. Adams has a passion for leading the young men and women of our nations Armed Forces and feels a deep responsibility for the lives and well-being of those he is charged to care for and guide. Over his five years of active service James has served in seven countries across three continents  and sustains a burning desire to continue his pursuit of service to the American citizenry.

Upon reflection of his time at UNG, James says that he “came to realize how important his courses were in developing a construct to address problems, articulate policy and think about solutions that were both in line with U.S. objectives and in accordance with the military needs of our allies.” He notes how grateful he is to have been gifted the opportunity to develop his world views while in Dahlonega. He says that in Estonia, “the dialogue I was privy to, the contributions we made, and the efforts invested into that relationship would not have been possible without the baseline knowledge founded in the Political Science Department at UNG.”

This was a photo from James’ actual commissioning ceremony on May 2nd, 2015 at North Georgia. The gentleman providing him the oath of Office is former Captain Mark Parrish.


This photo was of a short trip James took to an island outside Helsinki, Finland, which is a brief ferry ride North of Tallinn, Estonia. There are military fortifications on this island and is a well-known destination for those visiting the region. The military cooperation between countries bordering one another in that region are important, and he felt it was relevant to visit historical military locations in the area.