Donald P. Loren is Distinguished Professor of Practice at the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, National Defense University, Washington D.C., the nation’s premier joint professional military education institution. NDU educates national security leaders in strategic thinking and creative application of military power and national resources at the highest levels of government in a dynamic, complex, and unpredictable international security environment. He has over 45 years of national, international, and homeland security expertise.
Previously, he was appointed by the President to serve as the Department of Veterans Affairs Assistant Secretary for Operations, Security, and Preparedness, a position he held until September 1, 2018. He had responsibility for the Department’s national security, emergency management response and recovery, personnel security and suitability, and security and law enforcement activities, across a 1700 facility and 375,000 employee enterprise including oversight of the 4800-member VA Police Force. He served as the Department’s Continuity Coordinator, Emergency Coordinator, and Federal Senior Intelligence Coordinator, and oversaw policy across VA’s administrations and staff offices for emergency preparedness, continuity, intelligence, counterintelligence, insider threat, special security, national security /emergency preparedness communications, infrastructure protection, personal security and law enforcement programs Additionally, he represented the VA on the National Security Council, Domestic Resilience Group (DRG) and the National Security Policy Coordinating Committee and directed the VA’s 24/7 Integrated Operations Center, Continuity of Operations (COOP) sites, the Law Enforcement Training Center, and the Security and Investigations Center.
Don completed an appointment as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Plans & Posture, serving as the principal civilian advisor supporting the Secretary of Defense Title 10 responsibilities for the development, preparation, and review of military plans, including nuclear plans. He led development of strategic guidance and policy for, and conducted oversight of, U.S. global defense posture, contingency plans, and global force management. He advised the Secretary of Defense on crisis action planning when changes to the strategic environment required rapid adjustment of force levels and oversaw negotiation of international agreements related to access and protections for U.S. forces.
Before his appointment, he was the President and CEO of Old Dominion Strategies, a national, international, and homeland security and program management consulting company, where he advised the Department of Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the Department of Homeland Security on international and national security matters. He also advised the American Petroleum Institute and the organization “Veterans for Energy” on the relationships between energy policy and national security. Prior to joining the private sector, Don was appointed as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Security Integration, where he was responsible for strategic planning and policy development, capability and resource assessment, domestic and international partnership Defense Support of Civil Authority integration, congressional activities, strategic communications, and education issues related to homeland defense and homeland security. Additionally, in this capacity he represented the Department of Defense on the Homeland Security Council Domestic Resiliency Group.
Don retired from the U.S. Navy as a Rear Admiral, completing a 32-year naval career, which included command of a guided missile frigate, a Destroyer Squadron, and the UNITAS 96 surface and subsurface task force, as well as duty in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations; the Staff of the Commander U.S. Naval Forces, Europe; the Joint Staff; and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. His final assignment in uniform was as Deputy Director, Strategic Plans and Policy for Politco-Military Affairs on the Joint Staff. There he oversaw all Politco-Military relationships for the U.S. Military with NATO, Europe, Russia, and Africa. Subsequent to his naval career, Don served as a Senior National Intelligence Service Executive in the Office of the Director, National Intelligence, where he was assigned as the first Deputy for Operations Support at the then newly created National Counterterrorism Center. His responsibilities included coordinating post 9-11 counterterrorism efforts among the 16 intelligence agencies, as well as with the U.S. major international allies.
A 1974 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, his post-graduate education includes Old Dominion University, Harvard University Center for International Affairs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for National Security, the Syracuse University Maxwell School of Government, the NATO Defense College, the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, the Department of State Foreign Service Institute, the National Defense University, and the Center for Creative Leadership “Leadership at the Peak” program. A member of the National Association of Corporate Directors, Don has achieved designation as a Board Governance Fellow.
Don has served as an adjunct lecturer for the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, the Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship in Syracuse, New York, the George C. Marshall Center in Garmisch, Germany, the Canadian Forces College in Toronto, Canada, and the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and has held the position of Professor of Military Science at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. Additionally, he serves as a Senior Fellow at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, VA and as a member of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance Homeland Security Intelligence Council, where he coauthored the Alliance’s monographs, “The Evolving Terrorist Threat and the Importance of Intelligence to Protect the Homeland” and “Protecting the Homeland: Intelligence Integration 15 Years After 9/11.” He has also served as senior defense strategic advisor to the Homeland Security and Defense Business Council, a group of Fortune 500 companies with significant homeland security business interests. Additionally, he was formerly a member of numerous small company advisory boards and councils, and served as a trustee of the United States Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. He has frequently appeared as conference moderator, panelist, and keynote speaker at various national security venues.
Don served on the Virginia Military Advisory Council, where he and the council served the governor in maintaining a cooperative and constructive relationship between the Commonwealth and the leadership of the Armed Forces of the United States on issues affecting preparedness, public safety, and security. He also served as Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Association for Uniformed Services, and as a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, where he chaired the Veterans and Military Business Council.
He served on the nonprofit boards of directors of the America’s Adopt a Soldier Foundation, the Hope for the Warrior Foundation, the Rear Admiral James Carey Foundation, the Mission Readiness Foundation, and the Independence Fund, as well as the advisory boards for Peridot Solutions, LLC and The Binary Group, LLC.
Don has been awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service, Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service, Department of Veterans Affairs Meritorious Service Medal, Department of Health and Human Service Pinnacle Gold Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, and various personal, unit, and campaign awards. Additionally, he has received the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy from the Italian Government, has been awarded the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross and Conspicuous Service Star, and was awarded the 2007 Old Dominion University Distinguished Alumnus Award. In 2022, Don as inducted into the National Defense University Joint Forces Staff College National Hall of Fame. Don is the author of the Naval Institute Press book, The Shipboard Guide to Physical Fitness, has published numerous professional journal articles and papers, and is a frequent op-ed and print, television, and radio media contributor.