William D. Gallagher


National Board of Advisors

Captain Bill Gallagher currently serves as the Director of Counterterrorism Policy within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict.

Capt. Gallagher received his commission from the United States Naval Academy in 1997. After serving as a Surface Warfare Officer aboard the USS JUNEAU (LPD-10) and USS DUBUQUE (LPD-8), he lateral transferred into Naval Special Warfare and graduated from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training as the Class Leader of BUD/S Class 228.

Capt. Gallagher has led extensively in combat at various levels, and has executed missions spanning the entire spectrum of Naval Special Warfare capabilities. His operational assignments have included SEAL Team TWO, Special Boat Team TWENTY, SEAL Team FOUR, and Naval Special Warfare Development Group—where he served as an Assault Troop Commander, Squadron Operations Officer, Squadron Executive Officer, and Squadron Commanding Officer.

His twenty-three year career has included ten deployments, with four to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and two to Iraq in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Additionally, in 2003, he served as the Deputy Tactical Commander for the rescue of over 230 American citizens and 1100 foreign nationals from the U.S. Embassy and U.N. compound in Monrovia, Liberia. In 2005, he led a U.S. special operations team as the Agent-in-Charge assigned to protect the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Dr. Barham Salih. Following that mission’s successful completion, Capt. Gallagher and his team were assigned to protect the Former Prime Minister of Iraq, Dr. Ayad Allawi, during the drafting of the Iraqi Constitution. In 2008, Capt. Gallagher conducted a contingency deployment to Colombia in support of a successful hostage rescue executed by partner Colombian Special Operations Forces. Capt. Gallagher’s military decorations include Combat Action Ribbons for Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia, two Presidential Unit Citations, and four awards of the Bronze Star Medal, three with “V” device for valor in combat.

Capt. Gallagher was one of thirteen Americans selected and appointed by President Obama to serve as a 2010-2011 White House Fellow, in the nation’s most prestigious program for leadership and public service. Following that appointment and prior to his return to Naval Special Warfare Development Group, Capt. Gallagher served at the Pentagon on the Joint Staff in the Special Operations/Counterterrorism Deputy Directorate, which is responsible for worldwide special operations in support of the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Capt. Gallagher holds a Bachelor of Science from the U.S. Naval Academy where he was a NCAA Division-I lacrosse player. He holds a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School and a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.