Des Walton is a senior director for BGA, based in Washington, D.C. He supports BGA clients around the Asia-Pacific region by bringing his extensive regional expertise to bear on BGA’s analysis of political and economic developments Southeast Asia, as well as the Asia-Pacific defense and security sector.
A retired U.S. Army Foreign Area Officer (FAO) with extensive experience in national security policy, defense cooperation, and Southeast Asia, Des’ final assignment in the Army was serving as the U.S. defense attaché in Bangkok from 2012 to 2015. In this capacity, he was responsible for all Department of Defense programs and activities, including Foreign Military Sales.
From 2009 to 2011, Des was the director for Southeast Asia at the National Security Council where he acted as the U.S. government focal point for coordinating policy initiatives related to Southeast Asia. Earlier, he served as the director for Southeast Asia at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he coordinated efforts to build critical defense capacity in partner nations. Before that, he served as the Army Division Chief at the Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group-Thailand. Earlier, Des served on the U.S. Pacific Command staff and was responsible for managing security assistance programs in Southeast Asia.
Des began his FAO career with Indonesian language training at the Defense Language Institute and graduate studies at George Washington University before attending the Indonesian Army Staff College in 2000 as an exchange student. Des joined the U.S. Army Special Forces in 1992 after successfully completing the qualification course and Thai language training.
Concurrent to his work with BGA, Des serves as a non-resident senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington where he is involved in track two diplomacy efforts with Thailand. He is happiest outdoors, and on weekends you will find him riding his mountain bike, canoeing, or running the trails. He lives near Clifton, Virginia, with his wife, Susan, and son, William.