Washington, DC) Army Veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson announced today the appointment of Colonel Gary D. Espinas, currently a military professor of national security affairs in Monterey, California, as the first Director of Chapter and Member Services at OutServe-SLDN. Espinas will begin the newly created full-time position on April 30 following his military retirement.
“Colonel Espinas is exactly the kind of experienced military leader we need to build upon the rapid growth our membership and chapters have experienced since OutServe’s founding in 2010. Now, as we seek to expand our membership still further and build a sustainable chapter structure for the future, his expertise will be essential, and we welcome him to the team,” said Robinson.
A U.S. Army Foreign Area Officer specializing in Eurasia, Espinas previously served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as Director for Russia, Caucasus, and Black Sea Policy. In this capacity, he advised the Secretary of Defense and senior members of his staff on policy guidance, strategic direction, and security cooperation programming for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine, enabling them to shape decisively U.S. policy towards the region.
In 2003, he was investigated under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and successfully beat back an attempt to remove him from service.
“Colonel Espinas brings a unique perspective to this position. He served under the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law, fought back against efforts to discharge him, and went on to serve with dignity and integrity following the law’s repeal. He will be able to relate to our members very effectively,” said Robinson.
From 2009 to 2011, Espinas served as President of the Foreign Area Officer Association (FAOA), the nationwide professional organization for FAOs, commissioned officers from the four branches of the United States armed forces who are regionally-focused experts in political-military operations. Under his leadership, FAOA was transformed into a more relevant and cutting edge organization that better serves the FAO community. He oversaw a growth in membership by 30 percent and a revenue flow that more than tripled under his watch. He also led a successful rebranding effort and built a new communications presence for FAOA that reflects the realities of new media and social media.
Espinas’s previous political-military assignments include: Senior Political-Military Advisor for Conventional Arms Control, U.S. Department of State; Executive Officer to the Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, Headquarters, Department of the Army; Political-Military Officer for Strategic Arms Control, U.S. Embassy, Moscow, Russian Federation; and Deputy Inspection Team Chief and Arms Control Inspector, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Frankfurt, Germany.
A Distinguished Military Graduate of the Army ROTC program at the University of California at Berkeley, Espinas was commissioned in the Field Artillery in 1987. His first assignment was Battery Officer for 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), at Ft Campbell, Kentucky. During this time, Colonel Espinas deployed to Saudi Arabia and Iraq in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Later, he served in the Republic of Korea as Fire Support Officer for 5th Squadron, 17th Cavalry, and also as Commander for Battery C, 1st Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.
Espinas earned his M.S. in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in 2008, an M.A. in Russian Studies from Harvard University in 1997, and B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1987. His military education includes the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Defense Language Institute (Russian), Armor Officer Advance Course, and Field Artillery Advance and Basic Courses.
His personal awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (oak leaf cluster), and Meritorious Service Medal (two oak leaf clusters). He has been awarded the Honorable Order of St. Barbara and was twice awarded the U.S. Department of State Superior Honor Award.
ABOUT OUTSERVE-SLDN: OutServe-SLDN is the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel with more than fifty chapters and 6000 members around the world It works to support a professional network of LGBT military personnel and create an environment of respect in the military with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity. It is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America’s military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. OS-SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination. For more information, visit www.outserve-sldn.org.