On May 19, 2017, Mark Wilkins, Director of the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, presented the Defense Meritorious Service Medal to Colonel Robert F. Alvaro, US Army. The Defense Meritorious Service Medal is awarded to service members who render outstanding non-combat meritorious achievement or service while assigned to a joint duty activity.
Colonel Alvaro joined the Perry Center in October 2014 as Chief of Strategic Plans and Communication. Prior to working at the Perry Center, Colonel Alvaro had already led a distinguished career as a Foreign Area Officer (FAO) specializing in Latin America. His previous assignments include: Chief, Office of Security Cooperation-Nicaragua; Deputy Army Section Chief, Officer of Security Cooperation-Iraq; Country Director at the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs; Political Military Planner; Country Desk officer at the United States Southern Command; and Exchange Instructor at the Argentine Army Mountain Operations School.
During his time at the Perry Center, Colonel Alvaro was instrumental in the Center’s mission of nurturing sustainable networks of security and defense leaders. He was responsible for planning and executing strategic communication initiatives to governmental, non-governmental, and international audiences. His programs and written and digital products clearly communicated the Perry Center’s mission and programs to target audiences and partners, including senior military and civilian defense individuals. He tirelessly cultivated, then institutionalized, mutually productive relationships with Western Hemisphere defense and foreign policymakers at the National Security Council, the Department of State, and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.
Additionally, Colonel Alvaro oversaw the Perry Center’s highly successful Hemispheric Forum series. During his tenure, the Perry Center hosted Hemispheric Forums on such contemporary policy issues as the inclusion of LGBT personnel in the armed forces of the Americas and the security challenges posed by emerging technologies, like unmanned systems and robotics.
In June, Colonel Alvaro will assume command as Commandant of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he will be responsible for the education of over 1000 international students every year. We are very sad to see Colonel Alvaro go, but wish him the best of luck at his next post.