Col. Dave Palazzo (ret.) is a nonresident senior fellow in the Forward Defense practice of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. Dave retired from active-duty US Army service in 2020 after more than twenty-four years of service as both an armor officer and nuclear-counterproliferation officer. Dave has extensive interagency experience, with assignments supporting both the US Defense Department’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the US Department of Energy. From 2009 to 2012, he served as the DTRA’s liaison to the commander of Joint Special Operations Command, assisting with the integration of technologies from the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office to support national special operations. From 2015 to 2016, Dave served as the deputy director for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s NA-221, leading the US Department of Energy’s research into future non-proliferation capabilities and technologies.
In 2003 and 2004, Dave led a 130-man cavalry troop conducting operations in Ramadi and Fallujah, Iraq. He has also served several assignments supporting US Special Operations Command, focusing on strategic competition and countering future proliferation threats globally.
Following his retirement, Dave transitioned to LinQuest, a space-solutions firm, and currently serves as the director of corporate strategy, focusing on integrating national capabilities to maintain US competitive advantages in the space domain.
A native of Concord, North Carolina, Dave attended the US Military Academy, graduating in 1996 with a BS in mechanical engineering and an armor commission. He also holds a MS in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a MS in national strategic security strategy from the National War College of the National Defense University. He is now settled post-retirement in Colorado Springs, Colorado with his wife Leila and three kids.