Tony Shaffer

Lt Col Shaffer has commanded and directed several key operational intelligence organizations. These include Special Mission Task Force STRATUS IVY, that conducted direct support to DoD compartmented activities (OSD, SOCOM, JSOC, Army) which was focused on offensive information operations. In addition, he was in charge of Field Operating Base (FOB) Alpha, a joint DIA/CIA unit conducting classified collection and special operations support regarding terrorists just after the 9/11 attacks.

During his two successful, undercover, combat tours he participated in the search for senior Al Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan. These operations provide him with a unique viewpoint on terrorism and its roots in southwest Asia.

In recognition of successful high risk/high gain operations Tony received the Bronze Star Medal (BSM) for performance as an Operations Officer of the HUMINT Support Detachment in Afghanistan supporting CJTF 180 and the Chief of the HUMINT Support Element (HSE) for CJTF 121.

Lt Col Shaffer serves as senior fellow at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (CADS) he has conducted multiple courses of instruction, to include the Psychology of Terrorism, Leadership and Effects Based Operations. He has testified before Congress on key intelligence issues, lectured at the U.S. Army War College and is a nationally known Subject Matter Expert (SME) intelligence collection and policy, terrorism, data mining, situational awareness and adaptive/disruptive technologies. He is also a senior advisor to multiple organizations on terrorism, cyber operations and counterinsurgency issues and a member of the US Nuclear Strategy Forum. Tony is a frequent guest on national electronic media (TV and radio) and is frequently quoted in print media as an analyst regarding defense issues.


Presentation Topics 

Crisis management and media

From his extensive and effective work in media and with members of Congress this talk discusses the "ground truth" of how media really works. When someone uses the phrase "this will not turn out well..." when describing an event or person doom is normally on the horizon.  How do you turn that around and make the most of a situation to mitigate or regain control of issues - and prevent issues from controlling you at the personal or team level.  LtCol Tony Shaffer will share with you his vast experience in media, controversy and turning a crisis into an advantage.  

Taking the Initiative and Shaping One's Environment

From his military experience in managing multiple global enterprises and commands within the Department of Defense and the Intelligence community, LtCol Shaffer will share his experience and methods for shaping and retaining effective leadership of large and often complex enterprises.  Shaffer pioneered and ran the first Department of Defense undercover cyber unit - having to mash together and create a capability that had never existed before.  He will discuss his management and leadership tools that he used at the cutting edge of the government's global efforts to harness and use new technologies.

Operation DARK HEART

Lt Col Shaffer's experience in 'the heart of darkness" - Shaffer will discuss the lessons learned and provide stories about his 30 and a half years working as an intelligence operative. From his early days working to chase terrorists in Germany and New York City in the mid 80s, to developing "first of their kind" intelligence capabilities in operations such as ABLE DANGER, to his NYTs bestselling and controversial memoir - Operation DARK HEART, Shaffer will discuss what it's like to be in the shoes of an undercover operative who worked at the cutting edge of the national defense for over three decades.


The Spy Museum does not endorse, approve, or support the opinions stated by the speakers. Statements made by presenters do not represent the position or opinion of the International Spy Museum.