Owen West

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Owen West
Owen West.jpg
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict
Assumed office
December 27, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Michael D. Lumpkin
Personal details
Awards W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction
Military service
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1991–1996, 2003, 2005, 2006–2007
Rank US-O4 insignia.svg Major

Owen West is a United States Marine, banker, and author who currently serves as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict.[1][2] His June 6, 2017, nomination for this post was confirmed by a 74–23 vote of the U.S. Senate on December 18, 2017.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Owen West was born in Washington, D.C., in 1969 and attended St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire.[4] He received a B.A. from Harvard University in 1991 and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1998.[5] West was an all-Ivy League heavyweight rower at Harvard, and a 2nd team All-American.[6]

Military service[edit]

In 1991, West was commissioned a second lieutenant after graduating from Harvard as a ROTC midshipman.[7] He served for six years as an infantry platoon commander and a reconnaissance platoon commander. In 2003, he returned to active duty as the fires officer for 1st Force Reconnaissance Company during the Iraq invasion. In 2004, he embedded with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion outside Fallujah as a reporter.[8] In 2006–2007, West served as the team leader for a mixed Army-Marine team advising Iraqi Battalion 3-3-1 in Habbaniya, Anbar Province, Iraq.[9]

Goldman Sachs career[edit]

West interned for J. Aron, the commodities trading unit of Goldman Sachs, in 1997 and joined them full-time as a natural gas futures trader in 1998. In his 19 years at Goldman, he has taken four leaves-of-absence: to race in the 2000 Eco Challenge,[10] to attempt the North Face of Mount Everest in 2001,[11] and to join the Marines in Iraq in 2003 and 2006–2007. At Goldman, West greatly expanded the physical footprint of natural gas trading, founded the firm's veteran's network,[12] and co-founded its veteran internship program. He was named a partner in 2014.[13] He was formerly global head of natural gas trading and co-head of global power trading at Goldman Sachs.[14]

Business Insider called West "the most badass banker on Wall Street."[15]


West is the author of three Simon & Schuster books and several dozen articles on military affairs and adventure sports. His first novel, Sharkman Six, won the 2001 W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction.[16] His third book, The Snake Eaters, was named one of the "best books on today's wars" by Newsweek.[17] Dave Grossman, the bestselling author of On Killing, called it "The single most important book to come out of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."[18] West donated the advance and net proceeds of this book to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.[15]

Personal life[edit]

He is the son of Bing West, a former Marine Colonel and Vietnam veteran who served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs during Ronald Reagan's presidency.[19]

West has been the director of the Positive Coaching Alliance, a director of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[1]

Endurance sports[edit]

He began his endurance racing career while in the Marines, representing the U.S. six times in the 500 km Eco Challenge, "the world’s toughest expedition race",[20] finishing as high as second place. He raced with Marines, female firefighters, and as the sole male on Team Playboy XTreme.[21]

In 2001, West attempted to climb Mount Everest via the challenging North Face, turning back above 28,000 feet.[22]

He has completed 100-mile marathons,[23] several Ironman triathlons,[24] and in 2015 was the U.S. national 40+ triathlon champion in the Clydesdale (220 lbs.+) division.[25] West is an avid spearfisherman.[26]


  1. ^ a b Gould, Joe (June 7, 2017). "White House advances Navy secretary, two other DoD picks to Senate". Defense News. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  2. ^ Blair, Russell (June 6, 2017). "Trump Taps 'Badass' Greenwich Banker For Pentagon Post". Hartford Courant. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  3. ^ "PN555 — Owen West — Department of Defense". U.S. Congress. December 18, 2017. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  4. ^ "Page 3 – Alumni Horae: Vol. 93, No. 1 Fall 2012". uploads.myschoolcdn.com.
  5. ^ "GSB graduates 425 in outdoor ceremony: 6/98". news.stanford.edu.
  6. ^ "Individual Honors".
  7. ^ A. Pine (November 2007). "The Few. The Proud. The (Harvard???) Marines" (PDF). Proceedings. Annapolis, Maryland: U.S. Naval Institute: 40–44.
  8. ^ West, Owen (July 28, 2004). "Dispatches From Fallujah" – via Slate.
  9. ^ "Q&A with Owen West: Advisors in Iraq – Marine Corps Association". www.mca-marines.org.
  10. ^ Roach, Mary (January 8, 2002). "Turn-ons: Cycling, Paddling, Yoga, Jungle Navigation!". Outside.
  11. ^ "BackTalk; Climbing Everest: Risking Death for a View From the Top". The New York Times. June 24, 2001.
  12. ^ Marino, Jonathan (November 11, 2015). "HOOAH! These US military veterans now have big roles on Wall Street". Business Insider.
  13. ^ Popper, Nathaniel. "Goldman Sachs Names 78 New Partners". DealBook.
  14. ^ Farchy, Jack; Campbell, Dakin (July 3, 2017). "Goldman to Review Commodities After Worst Start in a Decade". Bloomberg. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  15. ^ a b Marlow, Ben (November 15, 2014). "Waiting for a call from Lloyd Blankfein: How Goldman picks its partners". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  16. ^ "ALA – bill boyd Literary Novel Award recipient named". www.ala.org.
  17. ^ Wittman, Lucas (November 5, 2012). "Best Books on Today's Wars, From the Pens of Veterans". Newsweek. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  18. ^ The Snake Eaters: Counterinsurgency Advisors in Combat: Owen West: Books. Amazon.com. ISBN 9781451655964.
  19. ^ West, Owen; West, Bing (May 29, 2016). "Honor the cause for which our fallen fought". New York Post. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  20. ^ "Eco-Challenge(R), the World's Toughest Expedition Race(TM), Produced by Mark Burnett (Survivor) Airs as a Four-Night Television Event Premiering on April 21–24 at 8:00 PM ET/PT on USA Network; Narrated by Academy Award Winner, Holly Hunter" (Press release). prnewswire.
  21. ^ Enterprises, Playboy. "Playboy X-Treme Team Finishes Eco-Challenge Sabah 2000" (Press release). prnewswire.
  22. ^ Kaplan, Jonathan E. (June 24, 2001). "BackTalk; Climbing Everest: Risking Death for a View From the Top" – via NYTimes.com.
  23. ^ "Race Results – Vermont 100 – 1998". trail-race.com.
  24. ^ "IRONMAN Lake Placid Results – IRONMAN Official Site – IRONMAN triathlon 140.6 & 70.3". IRONMAN.com.
  25. ^ "Clydesdale and Athena National Champions Crowned Sunday in Grand Rapids".
  26. ^ "BackTalk; Hold Your Breath and a Spear Gun For a Sport Filled With Adventure". The New York Times. August 11, 2002.

External links[edit]