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Dr. Joseph H. Felter

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia


Dr. Joe Felter is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia. Dr. Felter served as the principal advisor to senior Department leadership for all policy matters pertaining to development and implementation of defense strategies and plans for the region. He was responsible for managing the bilateral security relationships with nations of the region and guiding DoD engagement with multilateral institutions.

Prior to joining OSD, Dr. Felter held teaching and research appointments at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, the Hoover Institution and the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. At Stanford, he was Co-Director of the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project and Director of the Hacking for Defense Project. His previous academic positions include Director of West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center, Assistant Professor in the US Military Academy’s Department of Social Sciences, and adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University’s School for International and Public Affairs. His research focuses on counterinsurgency and counterterrorism and has appeared in top peer reviewed academic journals and a range of other publications. Dr. Felter is co-author of “Small Wars, Big Data: The Information Revolution and Modern Conflict” forthcoming at Princeton University Press.

A former US Army Special Forces and Foreign Area Officer, Dr. Felter served in a variety of special operations and diplomatic assignments. As a Special Forces A-Team Leader and Company Commander, he conducted Foreign Internal Defense and Security Assistance missions throughout East and Southeast Asia. While a military attaché in the Philippines, Dr. Felter helped develop the counterterrorist capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and provided training in negotiations and conflict resolution to the Government of the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace panels. He participated in multiple combat deployments including Panama with the 75th Ranger Regiment, Iraq with a Joint Special Operations Task Force and Afghanistan where he commanded the COMISAF Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team (CAAT).

Dr. Felter is Founder of BMNT a Silicon Valley based technology incubator and problem solving platform which Forbes magazine named as one of the nation’s top 25 Veteran-Founded Startups in America in 2016.

Dr. Felter received a B.S. from the United States Military Academy at West Point, Masters of Public Administration with a concentration in negotiations and conflict resolution from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Graduate Certificate in Management from the University of West Australia, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University. He is a graduate of the Singapore Armed Forces Senior Service College and was a US Army War College Fellow at the Hoover Institution.