Dan Keener was born on 12 September 1978 in the shadows of the Bull Run battlefields of Virginia. Having parents who grew up on farms, hard work, and resourcefulness were foundational values instilled from an early age. Dan graduated from the United States Military Academy on June 2nd, 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Management and was commissioned as an Infantry Officer. After serving as the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) Commander’s liaison to the State Department for almost two years, in 2018 Dan served as the Director of a multi-nation information-sharing platform. In this role, Dan successfully changed the US security classification policy of evidence from the battlefield. This change allowed for the rapid introduction of battlefield evidence for admission into prosecutorial cases against ISIS members around the world.
As the battalion commander of the Soldier Recovery Unit (SRU) at Fort Belvoir, Dan’s transformational
leadership restructured and reorganized the unit following 50 percent funding and personnel reductions. Despite COVID and other obstacles, Dan’s team maintained the same high level of Soldier throughput and care while significantly reducing levels of Soldier self-harm. His organizational changes led all Eastern Region SRUs to follow and adopt similar changes. As the Commander of an Underwater Combat Diving Operational Detachment-Alpha (ODA) in 3rd Special Forces Group, Dan worked at the tactical level with British, Danish, Czech, and Afghan forces in Helmand Province in 2007-2008 and combat advised the Afghan National Commando Battalion (6th Kandak) in 2009. These deployments imprinted on him the value and unique perspective of partner-nation contributions and innovations.
Dan’s foundational leadership lessons, though, occurred when he was a Rifle Platoon Leader keeping up with 45 Paratroopers during the invasion of Iraq. The value of trust, relationships, and the importance of being a creative problem solver were lessons he still carries with him today. He is proud of his efforts to design, manufacture, and purchase steel plates for the unit’s vehicles, which saved eight Soldiers from a direct IED strike soon after installment.
Dan’s previous assignments include platoon leader, company XO, and S3 Air Operations Officer with
325th AIR, 82nd Airborne Division; Detachment Commander, Company XO, and Battalion Assistant
Operations Officer with 3rd Special Forces Group; Chief of Exercises at US Army Special Forces
Command; Battalion Operations Officer (S3) and the Company Commander of the counter terrorist unit designated as the CINC’s Crisis Response Force; Observer/Coach/Trainer for Special Operations Forces as well as the Chief of SOF Plans at the Joint Readiness Training Center; JSOC Commander’s Liaison Officer to the State Department; Deputy Operations Officer for the Joint Inter-Agency National Capital Region (JIATF-NCR); and SRU-Fort Belvoir Battalion Commander.
After 21+ years of service to the Army, Dan will transition out of the military on 28 February, 2023. He recently finished his Skill Bridge internship with the Global SOF Foundation, holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Public Administration, is a recipient of the State Department’s Meritorious Honor Award, an honorary member of the Lynnbrooke, New York Fire Department, and continues to be undefeated as a U6 soccer coach. Dan is married to Alisha, and they live in Niceville, Florida with their five daughters.