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Owen West

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict

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Mr. Owen West is the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict. Previously, Mr. West worked for Goldman, Sachs as an energy trader. He has 19 years of experience in risk-management and the most volatile international markets, leading the global natural gas and U.S. power businesses.

While at Goldman, Mr. West took two leaves of absence to activate and deploy with fellow Marines to Iraq. In 2003 he was the fire support officer for Force Recon Company and in 2006 he deployed as an advisor to an Iraqi infantry battalion holding a remote outpost in Anbar Province, where he led a group of 12 soldiers and Marines living among 500 Iraqi soldiers.

Mr. West is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He was a Director of the Positive Coaching Alliance, and is a certified trainer of youth coaches and a multi-sport coach for his two boys. He is also a Director of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. Mr. West and his wife have founded two cornerstone scholarships benefitting the children of fallen troops.

He is the author of three books about military affairs. Sharkman Six (Simon and Schuster, 2001) won the Boyd literary award for best military novel. The Snake Eaters (Simon and Schuster, 2012) detailed the combat advisory mission in Iraq. He has written dozens of articles and op-eds on the military and adventure sports published in several publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Men’s Journal, Popular Mechanics, Topic, and The New York Times.

Mr. West graduated cum laude from Harvard College as a Government major and was commissioned in the Marine Corps where he served for 6 years as a platoon commander and a reconnaissance platoon commander.

He twice deployed overseas to Asia and the Middle East before attending Stanford Business School. At Stanford, Mr. West was co-president of his class and the CEO of Challenge for Charity, the largest business school non-profit corporation.