On June 28, 2017 the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies bid farewell to Perry Center Director Mark Wilkins. Current and former officials from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and other Department of Defense Regional Centers joined Perry Center faculty and staff to honor Mr. Wilkins for his career in public service.
Mr. Sergio de la Peña, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs, praised Director Wilkins for his leadership, professionalism, and regional expertise. Presenting Mr. Wilkins with a special award commemorating his service, Mr. de la Peña observed that a generation of Latin Americanists have benefited from serving alongside Mr. Wilkins during both his time as a US Army officer and as a civilian official.
LTG (Ret.) Terry Wolff, Director of the Near East South Asia (NESA) Center for Strategic Studies, praised his fellow Regional Center Director for his collegiality, leadership, and hospitality when the NESA Center relocated to shared Regional Center facilities on Fort McNair. Mr. Jeffrey Murphy, Perry Center Chief of Staff, and Dr. Scott Tollefson, Dean of Academic Affairs, commended the vision and initiative displayed by the outgoing Director and briefly summarized the challenges overcome by the Center under his direction. Noting his successful transformation of the Center and the elevation of its reputation as a global leader in the topic of defense governance, they presented Mr. Wilkins with a certificate of gratitude, conferring upon him the title of “Director Emeritus.”
Mr. Wilkins joined the Perry Center in June 2014. Prior to working at the Perry Center, he led a distinguished career in the security and defense governance sector, specializing in Latin America. Mr. Wilkins’ previous assignments include: Defense Institutional Reform Initiative (DIRI) Country Project Lead – Guatemala; Joint Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Program Mentor; Latin American DIRI Project Manager; Western Hemisphere Directorate Chief for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Defense and Army Attaché – Colombia; Defense and Army Attaché – Ecuador; US Military Group Commander – Guatemala; Military Liaison Officer Commander – Nicaragua; G-2 Plans and Exercises Chief; Office of the Defense Representative Chief – Costa Rica; J-2, Director of Intelligence Special Operations Command South; Senior Military Analyst for Defense Intelligence Agency’s Latin American Division; and National Intelligence Support Team Officer.
During his time as Director, Mr. Wilkins was instrumental in transforming the Center’s mission and strengthening multilateral relations throughout the Western Hemisphere. Mr. Wilkins’ reorientation of the Center’s academic curriculum to focus on defense governance cultivated an environment in which communities of practitioners could come together and share regional perspectives, challenges, and solutions. Mr. Wilkins’ contributions to the formulation of policy and development of innovative programs assisting our partner nations in defense governance have increased the efficiency and effectiveness of US security cooperation and made meaningful contributions to a safer hemisphere.
We wish Mr. Wilkins the best of luck in his future endeavors.