Santa Fe, New Mexico,
|Education||Saint Mary's College of California (B.A.), St. John's College (M.A. in Performing Arts), University of Notre Dame (Ph.D.)|
|Awards||Joint Service Civilian Commendation Medal, Secretary of Defense Medal, Mother Teresa Award|
Cardinalli graduated from high school at the age of 14 and college at the age of 18. Her M.A. was awarded at age 20, and, at the age of 24, she became the youngest person to complete a doctoral degree at the University of Notre Dame. Her early degrees were awarded in Performing Arts and in Philosophy. However, she did her doctoral studies at the University of Notre Dame in Theology, where she majored in Liturgical Studies with a minor in Latino Studies. Her doctoral research focused upon the music and worship practices of the Penitentes, a secretive Catholic religious society with roots in medieval Spain.
Also at 14, Cardinalli published the nonfiction book Why Wait? Graduate! (Northwest Publishing, 1995), intended to assist other students seeking early graduation from high school.
Cardinalli, performing as "AnnaMaria", is a classical and flamenco guitarist, as well an operatic contralto, noted by reviewers for both technical complexity and a feminine sensuality in her interpretive style. Her performances include a solo recital at the Kennedy Center, appearances for the Prince of Spain and Pope John Paul II, and multiple performances of the Concierto de Aranjuez with various orchestras.
Cardinalli is closely associated with the Chicago Studio of Professional Singing and highly credits Janice Pantazelos as her vocal instructor.
Independent of her more public musical career, Cardinalli's previous employers include the FBI and the Joint Special Operations Command, as well as the U.S. Marine Corps, working in Helmand Province, Afghanistan while serving on a Human Terrain Team. She is the owner of D'Angelo Global Solutions, a "consulting" firm functioning as a Private Military Company (PMC) and security operation. Cardinalli is a licensed private investigator.
During her time with the Human Terrain Team, Cardinalli was tasked to research the sexual practices of the Pashtun. Her investigation and subsequent report brought to light the prevalent sexual abuse of young boys, and as Sara Carter described it in the Washington Examiner, the "vast gulf between U.S. and Afghan attitudes about homosexuality and pedophilia".
Cardinalli asserts that the practice of abuse plays a role in the early development of terrorists and describes how child sex slaves are often trapped and hidden as young “recruits” to various police, military, and insurgent organizations in Afghanistan. Cardinalli's report led to the 2011 announcement that "NATO officials have been aware of the recruitment problem for some time, and the former military commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, issued an order in 2010 warning troops to be on the lookout for under-age recruits."
Cardinalli has been associated with the inception of the U.S. Marine Corps Female Engagement Team, the first official involvement of women in an operational capacity "outside the wire", and served as a member of, and mentor to, the first team.
Cardinalli's work on sexuality came to national media attention in late 2010. Her report was covered by Joel Brinkley in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Examiner, CNN, Fox News and other media outlets.
Cardinalli's academic biography, however, does mention her study of the religious and socio-cultural dynamics underlying conflict between Islamic and western cultures, and her previous use of the ethnographic research techniques required for Human Terrain work.
While listing her credentials as a professor of National Security and Intelligence studies, Cardinalli also acknowledges having worked "as a contractor on numerous intelligence, training, defense, and counterintelligence/security projects." Additionally, she had no proficiency in Afghan languages while completing her research, preventing her from direct communication with subjects and access to historical and cultural documents.
This notorious combination of involvements, combined with her profession as a performer, has earned Cardinalli a somewhat "shadowy" reputation—inviting inevitable comparison to a modern Mata Hari.
Academic appointments and awards
Cardinalli is a current professor in the Graduate Program of Intelligence and National Security Studies at American Military University. Cardinalli’s military and civilian awards include the Joint Service Civilian Commendation Medal and the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Global War on Terrorism. She is also a 2006 Laureate of the Mother Teresa Award for her artistic efforts.
- AnnaMaria Cardinalli, Crossing the Wire: One Woman's Journey into the Hidden Dangers of the Afghan War. Casemate Publishers, upcoming 2013. ISBN 9781612001913
- Cardinalli-Padilla, AnnaMaria. El Llanto: A Liturgiological Journey Into the Identity and Theology of the Northern New Mexican Penitentes and Their Spiritual Siblings. Doctoral Dissertation, The University of Notre Dame, 2004.
- Annamaria Christina Padilla. Why Wait? Graduate. Northwest Publishing, 1995. ISBN 978-0-7610-0051-8
- Legado y Leyenda 
- Flamenco Steel
- El Duo Duende
- Sweet Night
- Sleep with the Angels
- Padre’s Footsteps
- Santa Fe Silver
- Spain Never Sleeps
- El Rosario
- Bacha bazi (sexual slavery / child prostitution in Afghanistan)
- Military intelligence (a discussion of the discipline)
- "The Mother Teresa Awards". The Mother Teresa Awards. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
- "Women of Influence: Dr. Anna Maria Cardinalli '97 | Saint Mary's College". Stmarys-ca.edu. 2010-09-30. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
- "Title page for ETD etd-04052004-140627". Etd.nd.edu. 2004-03-19. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
- Posted by UR Student Worker on April 8, 2011 11:48 AM (2011-04-08). "Classical Flamenco Guitarist Comes to Eastern - Press Releases". Easternct.edu. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
- Fernandez, Christina. “Padilla: Why Wait?” Hispanic Magazine, September 1995: 9, Cole, Melanie. “Underage Overachievers.” Hispanic Magazine January/February 1997: 84-85
- "Wally's World - Anna Maria". Retrieved November 2011.
- Cardinalli-Padilla, AnnaMaria. "AnnaMaria CDs". AnnaMaria CDs. annamaria.ws. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
- "Aldendell.com". Retrieved November 2011.
- "En Fuego El Duo Duende » Kitsap Sun Mobile". M.kitsapsun.com. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
- "annamaria.ws". Retrieved November 2011.
- "Kanye West - Good Morning Good Night: Dawn [PA] in Music: Rap". JR.com. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
- "Director: Janice's Bio | Chicago Studio of Professional Singing". Professionalsinging.com. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
- "Catholic Music Network: AnnaMaria". AnnaMaria CDs. catholicmusicnetwork.com. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
- "APU Faculty Member: AnnaMaria C Cardinalli". Apu.apus.edu. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
- D'Angelo Global Solutions Retrieved November 30, 2011
- Brinkley, Joel (2011-06-27). "Afghanistan's dirty little secret". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 2011.
- "Afghan sex practices concern U.S., British forces | Sara A. Carter | World". Washington Examiner. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
- HTT AF-6 Pashtun Sexuality Research Update and Findings, www.imagesoflife-online.co.uk/HTTAF6.doc
- Bradby, Tom (January 31, 2011). "ITV News". And another thing on Afghanistan. itv.com. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
- "Crossing the Wire". casematepublishers.com. 2012-12-20. Retrieved 2013-01-11.
- "Title page for ETD etd-04052004-140627". Etd.nd.edu. 2004-03-19. Retrieved 2011-11-30.
- "Musica Mundial Features". Musica Mundial Features. Retrieved 2012-06-11.
- Menard, Valerie. “Recommended.” Hispanic Magazine December 1997:82
- Fernandez, Christina. “Padilla: Why Wait?.” Hispanic Magazine September 1995: 9
- "The Song and the Sword," a magazine feature article.
- Link to publishers' website regarding Crossing the Wire
- Cardinalli's (music career) website
- List of AnnaMaria flamenco guitar CDs
- A viral war-reaction video, utilizing Cardinalli's dark voice.
- Full text of Cardinalli's controversial report