Past Events

The Russian Enigma: Understanding Moscow’s Military Might

Peter Zwack

September 14, 2017

From 2012 – 2014, BG (r) Peter Zwack served as the United States Senior Defense Official and Attache to the Russian Federation. By interacting with Russians at multiple levels since 1989, including defense, security, academia, policy, veterans, & private citizens, BG Zwack developed a unique hands-on perspective on Russia and Eurasian security affairs during a turbulent period that included the recent strife in Crimea & Eastern Ukraine. Thanks to Glasnost he first studied in the Soviet city of Kalinin (renamed Tver) as a young U.S. Army Captain in the summer of 1989.

BG Zwack enlisted in the US Army in 1980 and received his commission via Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning, Georgia.  He subsequently served 34 years as a Military Intelligence and Eurasian Foreign Area Officer serving in diverse and challenging duty locations including West Germany, South Korea, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Russia. He has commanded thousands of soldiers at Company, Battalion and Brigade level and was the Army intelligence chief in Europe (2006-8) and Afghanistan (2008-2009). He has a Masters degree in National Security Studies from the Naval War College and a second Masters, in Strategic Intelligence, from the Defense Intelligence College in Washington DC.

Inducted into the OCS Hall of Fame in 2015, BG Zwack is a recipient of  the Bronze Star, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Superior Service Medal, and many other awards and citations including the Afghan Service Medal and NATO/Kosovo Medal. He was also honored as the Joint Chief’s of Staff “Action Officer of the Year” for 1999. He proudly wore the Ranger Tab and Airborne Wings.

Recently retired, he is now the Senior Russia-Eurasia Fellow at the Institute of National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, in Washington DC, as well as an Adjunct Fellow at the Pell Center, Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. As such, he regularly consults, writes and lectures within the interagency, defense department, think tanks, and academic institutions on contemporary Russian and Eurasian security issues, and leadership lessons learned.

He lives with his dear wife Stephanie in Newport, R.I. and commutes to Washington DC for his research work. He has three children, Broghan (graduated from Brown University in May – Economics), Peter Jr (Sophomore at University of Denver, ROTC scholarship), and Alessandra (Sophomore at Pomfret School).

BG Zwack speaks Russian, German, Italian, and some French.


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