David Elliott Spencer, PhD
Assistant Professor, National Security Affairs, National Defense University, Asia and Latin America

Dr. Spencer has more than two decades of professional and personal experience in Latin American security issues to include insurgency, terrorism, violent organized crime, drug trafficking and gangs. For the last fifteen years, he has focused on political and criminal violence in Colombia and spent the prior seven years focused on political violence in El Salvador. Besides Colombia and El Salvador, David has also done focused research and security studies on Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru, Chile and Argentina.

Spencer has developed an extensive network of military, police, business and political contacts in Colombia. He has personally trained and worked with the most senior officers in Colombia’s military and law enforcement cadres as well as Colombia’s political and business elite. As a member of the adjunct faculty of the University of Los Andes Chief Executive Officer Program, He has developed a relationship with a large number of the CEOs of Colombia’s major corporations, multi-nationals and the National Business Association.

Spencer earned a PhD in Political Science from George Washington University where he studied political science. His dissertation was on the importance of resource mobilization for successful Latin American insurgencies. David has an MA in International Development Studies and BA in International Relations from Brigham Young University. Besides this he has visited and done general research throughout most of Latin America.

Spencer has published widely, including the following selected publications:

* Colombia’s Road to Recovery: Security and Governance 1982-2010, Washington: Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, 2010, with Carlos Ospina, David Moreno, Alejandro Arbelaez, Juan Carlos Gomez, Carlos Berrios and Jorge Vargas.

* Five Factors that Changed Colombia: Lessons from a Remarkable Recovery of Security and Governance, Washington, DC: Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, March 10, 2011.

* The Relevance of Mao to post-Modern Insurgencies, American Intelligence Journal, Volume 28, Number 1, 2010, pp. 146-152 (7).

* Colombia’s FARC: A Portrait of Insurgent Intelligence, with John Gentry, Journal of Intelligence and National Security, Volume 25, Number 4, August 2010 , pp. 453-478(26).

* Paraguayan People’s Army: Insurgents or Pretenders? Security and Defense Studies Review, Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, Summer 2010.

* Evolución de la doctrina y capacidad militar de contrainsurgencia de las Fuerzas Militares de Colombia 1948-2004, in Fortalezas de Colombia Vol. 2., Inter-American Development Bank, November 2006.

* Assessment of Interoperability and Effectiveness of Joint Counternarcotics Operations: Joint Task Force South, with Colonel
William Kellner, et al, Center for Naval Analyses, April 2001.

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