Andrew Knaggs

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Combating Terrorism
30th Annual SO/LIC Symposium & Exhibition
Andrew F. Knaggs is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Combating Terrorism. In this capacity, Mr. Knaggs leads the Department's policies, plans, authorities and resources related to special operations and irregular warfare, with special emphasis on counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, unconventional warfare, information operations and sensitive special operations. He represents the Secretary of Defense on various interagency working groups with other departments responsible for national security policy. He reports to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict and assists him in his statutory responsibilities regarding the U.S. Special Operations Command.

Prior to his current position, Mr. Knaggs was the founder and managing partner of Knaggs Law PLLC, based in Washington, D.C., where he advised business leaders and investors on various corporate matters including mergers and acquisitions, government contracting, and regulatory compliance.

Before reentering the private sector, Mr. Knaggs served as the Deputy Director for Special Operations and Irregular Warfare in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict (ASD SO/LIC). In this role, he advised the ASD SO/LIC in the planning, review and research of DoD special operations policies.

Prior to his policy role at the Pentagon, Mr. Knaggs served at the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), first as the Chief of Operations Support Branch, then as the Chief of Research & Engineering Division. As division chief, Mr. Knaggs was the principal for technology development and industry engagement, managed a portfolio with over 100 programs, deployed a $300 million budget and led a staff of scientists, engineers, financial analysts and technology scouts.

Before joining JIEDDO, Mr. Knaggs worked as a legal associate at a regional law firm headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. He served in the business law section, where he facilitated the representation of middle-market clients in M&A, private equity transactions, and the formation of new corporate entities.

Prior to law school, Mr. Knaggs served as a Green Beret in the U.S. Army Special Forces. He commanded an Operational Detachment-A in 5th Special Forces Group, where he specialized in High-Altitude Low-Opening (HALO) airborne operations, sensitive site exploitation, and time-sensitive targeting. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Mr. Knaggs conducted joint special operations in western Iraq in collaboration with multiple interagency and indigenous elements. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for combat actions directly contributing to the international coalition's success.

Mr. Knaggs earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point and a Juris Doctorate from the William & Mary School of Law. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.