Newly Established Irregular Warfare Center Announces Director and Staffing Personnel

Newly Established Irregular Warfare Center Announces Director and Staffing Personnel

The newly established Irregular Warfare Center (IWC) has identified a group of essential personnel Oct. 24, 2022 to lead and execute mission readiness and organizational capabilities.

The IWC serves as the central mechanism for developing the Department of Defense’s (DOD) irregular warfare knowledge and advancing the Department’s understanding of irregular warfare concepts and doctrine in collaboration with key allies and partners.

The Center’s ’s foundation is built upon 3 main pillars:

  • AMPLIFY and collaborate to build an innovative and adaptable global networked IW community of interest.
  • Strategically ILLUMINATE current and future irregular threats, crises, and obstacles.
  • ADDRESS current and future irregular threats to the US, allies, and partners by providing optionality to leaders.

Meet The IWC Team

Dr. Dennis Walters, IWC Acting Director

  • As the acting 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 is a retired Special Forces officer who prior to volunteering for Special Forces served in Army Intelligence and the Infantry. During his 27-years in uniform he served five combat tours before completing his service within the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations, ASD SOLIC, where he helped design the first IW fellowship for an international audience.
  • After retiring from active duty, Dr. Walters continued to work as a civil servant. Over the past decade he has focused on building a global network of irregular warfare professionals for the ASD SOLIC. With Dennis’ vision of using education to build global networks of strategic thinkers who collaborate across cultures, the Department of Defense Regional Defense Fellowship Program (RDFP) was established. Dennis’ foresight and initiative have resulted in operationalizing this network in a variety of regions throughout the world. Today the network consists of more than 20,000 people from 120 countries and supports U.S. national security and the country’s allies and partners around the globe. Through Dr. Walter’s leadership, the RDFP program oversees the College of International Security Affairs (CISA) at the National Defense University and the Joint Special Operations Master’s Program located at Ft. Bragg.
  • Dr. Walters has instructed courses on irregular warfare at the National Defense University and is a published author in the field, including “The Future of the Middle East in 2040: A Forecast of the Drivers of Stability,” “Crafting a National Counterterrorism Strategy for Bangladesh,” and “East Africa and the Lord’s Resistance Army.” He has also taught at Regent University, where he developed one of the first graduate courses on strategic defense futures.

Lori Leffler, IWC Chief of Staff

  • Leffler has more than 30 years of experience developing and implementing strategic visions to lead national security missions and corporate organizations. Her experience includes quantitative and qualitative analysis, management studies, and reviews. Lori’s extensive management and supervisory experience and her strategic planning, thinking, and communications expertise have provided her with the foundation to make positive impacts as a government and industry leader. Leffler brings this expertise to the Irregular Warfare Center (IWC) as the Chief of Staff, where she works across the Center, government, industry, and academia to support the IWC’s mission.

Chris Burns, IWC Senior Advisor

  • As the IWC’s Senior Advisor, Burns brings more than 34 years of experience as a trusted advisor and confidant to executives, management teams, organizational partners and relevant staff. Burns delivers inspirational leadership by leveraging expertise developed in a stellar 36-year military career as an Army Commanding General, Green Beret, and strategic partner while enabling the development of innovative solutions by collaborating with key stakeholders in achieving aggressive objectives. Key competencies include virtual/in-person training, project management/analysis, strategic planning/growth, team/stakeholder collaboration, talent selection/development, communication/organizational influence, team leadership, coaching/mentoring, program development as well as delivery and execution.

Kevin D. Stringer, IWC Chair of Curriculum Development

  • Col. Kevin D. Stringer, Ph.D., U.S. Army, Retired, commissioned as an active-duty Army Aviator in 1987 and was a Eurasian Foreign Area Officer and Strategist assigned to U.S. Special Operations Command Europe and U.S. Special Operations Command. For interagency assignments, he was Director, Plans and Strategy (J5) for a transregional special operations task force in the Middle East and U.S. Africa Command’s (AFRICOM) Liaison Officer to the Department of State in Washington. He served as a military faculty member at the U.S. Army War College in 2021. With more than 30 years of active and reserve military service, his research focuses on irregular warfare, special operations, Russian indirect action, and multinational operations.

Dr. Sandor Fabian, IWC Chair of Integration and Engagement

  • Dr. Fabian is a former Hungarian Special Forces officer with 20 years of military experience. Dr. Fabian served in multiple national assignments including the senior Special Forces desk officer and advisor to the Hungarian Chief of Defense and held the Force Assessment and Evaluation Branch Head position at the NATO Special Operations Headquarters. Dr. Fabian is currently an instructor, curriculum developer supporting the NATO Special Operations education, training, exercises, and evaluation efforts. Dr. Fabian is also an adjunct faculty member at University of Central Florida and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where he teaches intelligence and cyber security related classes. Dr. Fabian is the author of the book titled “Irregular Warfare: The Future Military Strategy For Small States” and published several articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Richard Newton, IWC Chair of Strategic Futures and Research

  • Dr. Rick Newton brings more than four decades of operational, educational, and publishing experience to the Center for Irregular Warfare Security Studies. After graduation from the USAF Academy, he served for 22 years as an Air Force combat rescue and special operations helicopter pilot, combat aviation advisor, and strategic planner. He transitioned into international education and educational leadership upon his retirement from the Air Force, leading contractor support teams that designed, developed, and delivered joint, international, and multi-agency oriented special operations curriculum for the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies, the Joint Special Operations University, and NATO Special Operations School. Dr. Newton also created and delivered focused short courses to international students in 19 NATO countries, as well as Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.

The IWC will feature world-class research, rigorous analysis, tailored education, and international engagement to strengthen the United States’ network of international security partners. Additionally, the Center is designed to amplify the Department’s existing Regional Defense Fellowship Program (RDFP) and be complementary to the DoD Regional Centers (RCs) for Security Studies. The IWC will serve as the only global DOD center, which works in close collaboration to amplify regional centers’ IW efforts.

The IWC’s research will tackle the challenges and threats faced by the U.S. and its allies and partners as they defend their security, stability, and democratic principles. Based on this research, the Center will support adjustments to Department policies and doctrine, and provide advanced irregular warfare education with allies and partners, facilitated by expert practitioners, to support innovative and practical responses to emerging challenges.