MR. DAVID LEMEK is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Faculty Chair and Visiting Faculty member at the National Defense University’s College of International Strategic Affairs. Dave reported to National Defense University from DHS where he was the Deputy Director for Latin America and Caribbean Affairs within the Office of Policy. His responsibilities included developing policy initiatives for DHS engagement in Latin America and the Caribbean for all DHS operational components. He was also the Department’s lead representative to the interagency for re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Prior to joining DHS, Dave completed a career in the U.S. Navy beginning as an enlisted Sailor and retiring as a Captain. After qualifying to fly the SH-60B Seahawk helicopter he made three deployments to the Arabian Gulf including one extended deployment during Operation Desert Shield-Desert Storm. He also deployed twice to the eastern Pacific supporting Joint Interagency Task Force West (JIATF-W) and the U.S. Coast Guard for counter-narcotic deployments and hurricane Mitch relief efforts. Rounding out his sea duty assignments, Dave commanded a helicopter squadron, deploying worldwide in support of operations in Latin America, Banda Aceh, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom.
His shore duty assignments included flight school, where he was the squadron’s lead flight instructor. During this assignment he trained Taiwanese aviators in their first shipboard landings with the Sikorsky S-70C Thunderhawk aboard the Kwang HUA I class frigate. Staff assignments included service at the Pentagon where he served in the Plans and Policy Branch as the Navy’s Head Officer Promotion Planner. He completed his Naval career as the Chief of Staff for the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Defense College in Washington DC, where his team transformed the College into fully-funded international graduate school granting a master’s degree in hemispheric security.
Dave holds a BS in English from the United States Naval Academy, an MBA from National University in San Diego, and an MS in resourcing national security from the National Defense University. As a qualified Naval Aviator and Surface Warfare Officer he earned numerous individual, unit, and campaign awards including a commendation for rescue operations at the Pentagon in the aftermath of terrorist attacks on 9/11/01, and the Air Medal for 27 life-saving rescues during the evacuation of New Orleans, LA after Hurricane Katrina. Dave Lemek is married to Maura Quinn who is the Chief Information Officer for the Drug Enforcement Administration. They have two adult children; Greg, a physical therapy graduate student, and Natalie, an Ensign in the U.S. Navy.