David S. Maxwell


Associate Director
Colonel, US Army (RET) Mr.


Center for Security Studies (CSS)
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David S. Maxwell is a 30-year veteran of the US Army retiring as a Special Forces Colonel with his final assignment serving on the military faculty teaching national security at the National War College. He spent the majority of his military service overseas with over 20 years in Asia, primarily in Korea, Japan, and the Philippines leading organizations from the A-Team to the Joint Special Operations Task Force level.

He hails from Madison, Connecticut and is a 1980 graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a BA in Political Science and has Masters Degrees in Military Arts and Science and National Security Studies from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the School of Advanced Military Studies, and the National War College of the National Defense University. He received his commission from the Officer Candidate School in 1981.

He has served in various command and staff assignments in the Infantry in Germany and Korea as well as in Special Forces at Ft. Lewis, Washington, Seoul, Korea, Okinawa, Japan and the Philippines with total service in Asia of more than 20 years. He served on the United Nations Command / Combined Forces Command / United States Forces Korea CJ3 staff where he was a planner for UNC/CFC OPLAN 5027-98 and ROK JCS – UNC/CFC CONPLAN 5029-99 and later served as the Director of Plans, Policy, and Strategy (J5) for Special Operations Command Korea (SOCKOR). From 2000 to 2002 he commanded 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Okinawa, Japan during which his operational detachments participated in numerous operations throughout Asia in Korea, Japan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, including deployment to Mindanao and Basilan Island for the initial execution of Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines. In 2006-2007 he commanded the Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines (JSOTF-P). He has also served as Chief, Special Forces Branch, US Total Army Personnel Command in Alexandria, Virginia. He has been the G3 and Chief of Staff of USASOC, The chief of the USASOC Strategic Initiatives Group, and Chief of Staff, SOCKOR.

In addition, he is a fellow at the Institute of Corean-American Studies (ICAS) and on the Board of Directors of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, the International Council of Korean Studies, the Special Operations Research Association, and the Small Wars Journal. He is a Life Member of the Special Forces Association and the National War College Alumni Association. He is currently studying in the Doctorate of Liberal Studies program at Georgetown University(ABD). He teaches SEST 604, Unconventional Warfare and Special Operations for Policy Makers and Strategists.

His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal (1 OLC), the Legion of Merit, (1 OLC) the Meritorious Service Medal (2 OLC), the Army Commendation Medal (4 OLC), the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal (2 OLC), The Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Korean Defense Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon (numeral 5), the Joint Meritorious Unit Citation, the Army Meritorious Unit Citation, the Philippine Legion of Honor, the Philippine Humanitarian Service Medal, the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, the Expert Infantryman’s Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Korean, Philippines, and Australian Parachute Badges and the Special Forces and Ranger Tabs.

He and his wife, Kim, and their daughter, Elizabeth, reside in northern Virginia.


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  • MS (2004) National War College, National Defense University, National Security Strategy
  • MMAS (1996) School of Advanced Military Studies, Theater Operations
  • MMAS (1995) US Army Command and General Staff College, Operations, Plans, and Training
  • BA (1980) Miami University (Ohio), Political Science