Nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the US Senate in February 2010 as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Doug Wilson was the first openly-gay individual to be Senate-confirmed to a senior-level Pentagon position. He served until March of 2012 (when he retired from government) as the senior spokesman for the Department of Defense and the principal communications advisor to the United States Secretary of Defense and Deputy Secretary of Defense. His portfolio included public information, internal information, all media and community relations, information training for the military, media analysis and communication strategy in support of Pentagon policies and activities. Mr. Wilson led a worldwide public affairs community (the US government’s largest) of several thousand military and civilian personnel.
Mr. Wilson has three times (1999, 2001 and 2012) been awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Pentagon’s top civilian honor.
During his tenure as ASD/PA, Mr. Wilson was responsible for the development and implementation of Pentagon communication strategies and policies on issues including Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, China the “Arab Spring”, the budget, sexual assault prevention, WikiLeaks, NATO, military commissions at Guantanamo, journalist safety on the battlefield, military families, wounded warriors, cyber security and counterterrorism, including communications in the aftermath of the death of Osama bin Laden.
Mr. Wilson played a key role in the Pentagon and across government for the repeal of the “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” legislation. He also conceived and helped to implement the first-ever White House “state dinner” for Servicemembers, honoring men and women from all US states and territories and all Service branches who served on the battlefield in Iraq.
A native of Tucson, Arizona and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Stanford University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Mr. Wilson previously served as Board Member and Executive Vice President of the Howard Gilman Foundation, overseeing the development and implementation of the Foundation’s domestic and international policy programs at White Oak. He is a co-founder of the White Oak collaborative on veteran and military family issues.
Chapter: Washington, DC
Expertise: Afghanistan and Pakistan, Middle East, North Africa and Iran, Political Communications, Veterans Affairs and Issues