Dr. Dennis Walters


As the Director of the Irregular Warfare Center, Dr. Walters draws on more than three decades of operational and academic expertise to guide the Defense Department and the Interagency approach to conflict and competition, focusing on irregular warfare.

Dr. Walters enlisted in the United States Army as an Infantryman in 1983 and was selected as one of the original members of the re-activated 3/75th Ranger Battalion. He was commissioned into the Army Intelligence Corps in 1994 and soon applied for and completed the Special Forces Qualification Course. He was assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group where he led a Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha and deployed with them to the Balkans in combat operations in Kosovo and Serbia. As a fluent Russian speaker, in 2001, he was sent to liaison with the Russian Army in Tajikistan to support the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

In 2009, Dennis retired from the Army and began building a global network of irregular warfare professionals for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations. Dennis’ novel approach of using education to bridge cultures, and build global networks resulted in the largest network of its kind. Today the network consists of more than 25,000 people from 120 countries and supports U.S. national security and enhances US interoperability with allies and partners around the globe.

Dr. Walters has instructed courses on irregular warfare at the National Defense University and is a published author in the field, including, “DOD’s Irregular Warfare Center: Building Partnerships by Opening Up the Tent”, “The Benefits of Wargaming and Futurism for Irregular Warfare Professionals”, “Building a Bigger Tent: Women and Irregular Conflict”, and “National Security Challenges and Irregular Warfare in the 21st Center. He has also taught at Regent University, where he developed one of the first graduate courses on strategic defense futures. Dr. Walters’ educational background includes a doctorate in Strategic Leadership with a focus on Strategic Defense Futures from Regent University, a master’s degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University, and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations with a focus on Russian language from Methodist University.


Building a Bigger Tent: Women and Irregular Conflict

In December 2022 this Center introduced ourselves with an essay that outlined our intent to create a big tent by “entering into partnerships and resource agreements with academic institutions.” Your Irregular Warfare Center (IW Center) is pleased to report that last month about two dozen civilian universities joined us in Washington, DC, to discuss the comprehensive research, education, and outreach ...

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DOD’s Irregular Warfare Center: Building Partnerships by Opening Up the Tent

In the three short months since the Irregular Warfare Center (IWC) “opened its doors,” to begin addressing the implications of “struggle among state and non-state actors for legitimacy and influence over relevant populations,” it has been using its broad range of authorities to reach out and begin creating partnerships and collaborations to ensure it fully addresses strategic competition below the ...

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