Robert W. Schaefer is the Managing Director of Phalanx Strategic Solutions – a leadership and management consultancy specializing in infrastructure and capacity for mid-sized companies to scale. He is currently working with Bridgewater Associates to develop Ray Dalio’s best-selling book Principles into a corporate program.
Rob is a founding partner of American Freedom Distillery, maker of Horse Soldier Bourbon, one of America’s fastest growing spirits.
He is a retired U.S. Army Special Forces officer (Green Beret), diplomat, and consultant with over 30 years’ experience advising heads of state, senior foreign defense officials, and business leaders. He served as the on-air Security Analyst for NBC’s official coverage of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games and is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author.
Prior to entering the public sector, LTC(R) Schaefer served and participated in virtually every U.S. overseas operation since 1990. He began his career as a Special Forces Engineering and Demolitions Sergeant before earning his commission in 1993. He is one of a handful of “double-sewn” Green Berets, having successfully completed the entire Special Forces course a second time as an officer.
As a Green Beret, Rob was awarded the Singlaub Award as US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) “Person of the Year” for his historic achievements with Russian Airborne Forces. He is the first documented U.S. officer in history to lead Russian forces in combat operations.
As a primary planner of the first unclassified mission of the War On Terror following 9-11, his Program of Instruction (POI) for counterterrorism and counterinsurgency was adopted as the standard for all future deployments by all U.S. Army Special Forces. He later served as the Chief of Central and South Asia Branch of International Military Affairs, overseeing the development and implementation of security assistance and engagement programs for two continents. His programs are still used worldwide and continue to impact the safety and security of the U.S.; its allies; and people around the globe.
He served in multiple diplomatic postings in Russia, Ukraine and most recently as the Military Attaché to the country of Estonia where he helped create the Estonian Special Forces and their Cyber Security Command. He was awarded the Estonian Defense Forces Distinguished Service Cross, the Ministry of Defense’s Cross of Merit, and the White Cross of the Estonian Kaitseliit – the only foreigner in contemporary Estonian history to have been decorated by all three organizations.
Rob earned his Master’s Degree from Harvard University and is an inaugural member of the University of Louisville’s ROTC Hall of Fame (undergrad).
He was the host of National Public Radio’s Memorial Day Special 2007-2013, and his book The Insurgency in Chechnya and the North Caucasus, From Gazavat to Jihad, won critical acclaim from the New York Times and The Economist, and was named a “Best of 2011” by Kirkus Reviews.