Colonel (retired) Rich Outzen is a geopolitical analyst and consultant currently serving private sector clients as Dragoman LLC. He served in the Department of State as both a military and civilian advisor from 2016 through 2021, working in the Policy Planning office and later the office of the Special Representative for Syria (SRS). He was a member of the National Defense University (NDU) and Institute for National Security Studies faculty from July 2013 through June 2016. He served as the U.S. Defense Attaché in Kabul, Afghanistan from 2014-2015, on temporary duty from NDU. He previously served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Training and Development for the U.S. Security Coordinator in Jerusalem. He has researched and published extensively on matters of policy and strategy, with a focus on the greater Middle East and Central Asia.
A U.S. Army Foreign Area Officer, he has served in a variety of staff, command, and policy support assignments in Washington, D.C. and overseas. He has helped shape interagency discussion and national policy options for transitions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority. His areas of expertise include Defense Policy and Strategy, Strategic Culture, the Middle East, NATO/Europe, and Central Asia.
Colonel (retired) Outzen graduated cum laude with a B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1989, and holds an M.A. in National Strategic Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School as well as an M.S. in National Security Resourcing from the Eisenhower School, and is currently a PhD candidate at George Mason University’s Schar School. He is a Distinguished Graduate of the Eisenhower School, and a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He has published dozens of articles and book chapters on language, culture, strategy, and Middle Eastern affairs. Outzen speaks Turkish, Arabic, Hebrew, and German, and has spent over a decade serving in U.S. military and diplomatic missions overseas. He has participated in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. His military service has also included tours in the office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Joint Staff, and service as military attaché in Afghanistan and Israel.