Major General Lew Irwin began serving as the Commandant of the Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC), Norfolk, Virginia, on July 3, 2018. In this role, he leads the Joint Advanced Warfighting, Joint and Combined Warfighting, Joint Continuing and Distance Education, and Joint Command, Control & Information Operations Schools to develop joint warfighters and other national security leaders to plan and execute operational-level military operations in a joint, multinational, and interagency environment and to instill a primary commitment to joint, multinational, and interagency teamwork, attitudes, and perspectives.
Major General Irwin is a 1982 graduate of McGuffey High School in Claysville, Pennsylvania, and a 1986 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. Prior to his current assignment, he served as Deputy Chief of Army Reserve and Chief of Staff, Office of the Chief, Army Reserve, responsible for the areas of Strategy, Planning, Programming, Policy, and Resourcing at the OSD, Joint Staff, HQDA Staff, and Army Secretariat level. In his civilian career, he is a professor of public policy and government at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He holds master’s degrees and a doctorate in political science from Yale University, as well as a master’s in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. Major General Irwin is the author of three books on American politics and public policy, as well as various other journal articles on national security and American government. His most recent book analyzes the NATO mission in Afghanistan and the U.S. government’s strategic and interagency challenges there.
During more than 31 years of service in the Army, he has served overseas in Germany, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan, in addition to a variety of stateside locations. His active duty service has included tours in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault); service with the 3rd Armored Division during Operation “Desert Storm”; Sapper company command in the 1st Armored Division in Germany; faculty service in West Point’s Department of Social Sciences; and joint duty with the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, while working with the Afghan National Police. Other brief overseas missions have included conducting research for the Center for Army Lessons Learned in Bosnia and gathering “lessons learned” in Security Force and detainee operations in Iraq for 1st Army. He has also served as an Army Reserve Adjunct Professor for Research at the Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute, and represented the Army Reserve on OSD’s Reserve Forces Policy Board.
Major General Irwin’s other Army Reserve command assignments have included the 2nd Battalion, 312th Regiment; the 301st Regional Support Group; the 926th Engineer Brigade; and the 416th Theater Engineer Command. He has also served as the officer-in-charge of a Joint Deployable Team in the Joint Enabling Capabilities Command in the U.S. Joint Forces Command at Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia.
Major General Irwin’s military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Star Medals, and various other awards. He is Airborne, Air Assault, Sapper, and Jungle Warfare qualified, and holds the Army’s “3H” Joint Planner additional skill identifier, among others.
Lew and his wife Marcia have three children. Their daughter Mary is a 2012 graduate of West Point and a Captain in Civil Affairs assigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Their daughter Eva is a 2014 graduate of Washington & Jefferson College and a 3rd grade teacher and high school volleyball coach in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Their son Andrew is a 2016 graduate of West Point and a 2nd Lieutenant of Infantry assigned to Fort Stewart, Georgia.