Doug Fears
Retired Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard; Former Homeland Security Advisor to the President.
Background: Former Officers | Military Leaders
Topic: Corporate Culture, Decision Making, Leadership, National Security

Speaker Profile

Summary: RADM Doug Fears is one of 11 people to have served as Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor to the President, where he developed and implemented over two dozen strategies and policies and led key decision-making fora to address complex homeland and national security challenges. Through his 40-year career in public service, Doug has served as an operator, program manager, policymaker, legislative liaison, budget and program examiner and strategist leading efforts to manage risk to the nation at the tactical, operational and strategic levels. In earlier White House assignments, he served on the National Security Council staff as Senior Director for Resilience Policy and Director for Central America and the Caribbean.

Doug was a ship driver in the U.S. Coast Guard having served in eight ships, including as Commanding Officer for the cutters Hamilton, Diligence and Sitkinak.  Other assignments included Assistant Commandant for Response Policy, Atlantic Area Chief of Staff, Chief of Law Enforcement, Program Reviewer in the Office of Budget and Programs, and Liaison to the U.S. House of Representatives.  He retired from the Coast Guard in 2022 as a Rear Admiral. Doug’s final active-duty assignment was as Director, Joint Interagency Task Force South, a 20-nation, whole of government combined effort to fight drug trafficking that integrates intelligence information, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, and subject matter expertise to identify, locate, and interdict air and marine drug traffickers in the Western Hemisphere.  His team’s work attracted investment from numerous Defense Department innovation organizations, notably the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Joint Artificial Intelligence Agency, Office of Naval Research and others.

Doug is now Head of Net Assessment at Artis International, which specializes in integrating artificial Intelligence and behavioral science.  He also operates an advisory firm, The National Interest, LLC.  He is a Senior Advisor to both the Center for Strategic and International Studies and The Chertoff Group, is a member of The Vandenberg Coalition’s Advisory Board, and is a Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. Naval Institute; his research interests include emerging complex threats to global democracy and security, homeland security and leadership of matrixed and cross functional teams.   He has an MPA from Harvard, MA from the U.S. Naval War College, and a BS from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. 

Why would a prospective client want you to be their keynote speaker or to support their speaking event? What are some compelling aspects of your background/career/experience that we should know about? 

Doug Fears is the first active duty military officer to serve as Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor to the President, was a daily recipient of the “President’s Daily [intelligence] Briefing,” and spent four years on the National Security Council staff total, in three different roles: Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor, Senior Director of Resilience Policy and Director for Central America and the Caribbean.  Deep understanding of topics ranging from malign influence, election security, critical infrastructure resilience, transnational criminal organizations, the Americas, the U.S. Interagency and maritime security.

What are your primary topics/areas of expertise? Some examples may include: Conflict resolution, International Relations, Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion, Cybersecurity, as well as specific countries or geographical regions. 

  • Leadership
  • Homeland and National Security affairs,
  • Decision-making; U.S. interagency, National Command Authority
  • Maritime Security and Executive Burnout
  • Health Recovery

What are some positions you have held in your career that you would like prospective clients to know about?

  • Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor
  • NSC Senior Director for Resilience Policy
  • Director for Central America and the Caribbean
  • Director of the Joint Interagency Task Force South.

What are some speaking events you’ve supported recently?

Recent events supported since retiring from the Coast Guard in 8/22:

  • Speaker at The Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict conference at Oxford University
  • Multiple time speaker at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC
  • Multiple time presenter to a variety of fora with The Vandenberg Coalition (including a homeland security brief for a Presidential candidate)
  • Speaker at an Advanced Rejuvenation Health Summit in Sarasota, Florida
  • Speaker at the Parliamentary Intelligence Security Forum in Panama City, Panama

Do you have any articles or publications? Have you been featured in any? If so, what were they? 

I published two articles in the Naval Institute Proceedings magazine in the early 2010’s.  I started writing again in retirement but have not yet published my work.  I plan to write three books and have started on the first:

  • How the NSC works (and sometimes doesn’t),
  • Executive burnout and how to restore health (a personal journey), and
  • Lessons in Faith and Life (I intend this for my children, so unclear if it’s published by a publisher or self). 

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