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Colonel Gary David Espinas

Col. Gary EspinasStatus
Military Faculty


Research Interests
Russia, Former Soviet Union, Eurasia, European Security 

Colonel Gary D. Espinas is the U.S. Army Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Chair at the Naval Postgraduate School. A U.S. Army FAO specializing in Eurasia, Colonel Espinas has held a variety of political-military assignments pertaining to Russia and the Former Soviet Union.

Previously, Colonel Espinas served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as the Director for Russia, Caucasus, and Black Sea Policy. In this position, he had responsibility for managing bilateral defense relations with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine. His portfolio also included the NATO-Russia Council, NATO-Georgia Commission, NATO-Ukraine Commission, and Caspian Regional Security.

From 2004 to 2007, Colonel Espinas was assigned to the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., as the Senior Political-Military Advisor in the Office of Conventional Arms Control, Bureau for Verification, Compliance, and Implementation. While in this position, Colonel Espinas also served as a member of the U.S. Arms Control Delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), located in Vienna, Austria.

From 2003 to 2004, Colonel Espinas served on the Department of the Army Staff in the Pentagon as the Executive Officer to the Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management.

From 2001-2003, Colonel Espinas was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russian Federation, as a Political-Military Officer in the Political Section, where he had responsibility for strategic arms control issues. Later, he served as the Operations Officer in the Arms Control Implementation Unit.

From 1998 to 2000, Colonel Espinas served in the Defense Threat Reduction Agency; Frankfurt, Germany, as Deputy Team Chief for an arms control inspection and escort team. In this position, Colonel Espinas traveled widely throughout Eurasia conducting inspections and escorting foreign inspection teams under the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty.

Colonel Espinas is a Distinguished Military Graduate of the ROTC program at the University of California at Berkeley. Commissioned a Field Artillery officer, Colonel Espinas was initially assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Ft Campbell, Kentucky. During this time, Colonel Espinas participated in Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, where he served as a Battery Executive Officer. He was subsequently assigned to the Second Infantry Division in the Republic of Korea where he served as the Division Squadron Fire Support Officer and Battery Commander.

Colonel Espinas has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley, a Master of Arts degree from Harvard University, and a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the U.S. Army War College. He is a graduate of the Defense Language Institute (Russian) at the Presidio of Monterey, California; the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Ft Leavenworth, Kansas; and the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

His publications include:

  • “Ukraine’s Defense Engagement with the United States,” which appeared in the Spring/Summer 2010 edition of the Journal of International Affairs (published by Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs)

  • “The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe: A Case Study for a Return to Multilateralism,” which appeared in the April 2010 edition of Short of General War: Perspectives on the Use of Military Power in the 21st Century (published by the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute).

Colonel Espinas is a former President of the FAO Association (FAOA), and continues to serve as a member of the FAOA Board of Governors.

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