David Lapan

Director, Press Office at Dept of Defense

Deputy Director, Public Affairs at U.S. Marine Corps

PAO at United States Marine Corps

Colonel Dave Lapan currently serves as director of the Dept. of Defense Press Office, The Pentagon, Washington, DC.

Col. Lapan enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1980 and served as an air traffic controller and UC-12B crew chief before being selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program. He was commissioned a second lieutenant of Marines in April 1983. He left active duty in January 1987 and entered the Marine Corps Reserve.

In 1993, he resumed his undergraduate studies and graduated with honors from The Pennsylvania State University with a B.A. in Journalism and Humanities. He also spent two years as assistant press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, the largest agency in Pennsylvania state government.


In 1996, as a Reserve officer, Col. Lapan was assigned to the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee, serving as public affairs liaison to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies for the 1997 Presidential Inauguration.

Returning to full-time active duty, he was assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, where he served as head of the Media and Plans branches, from 1997 - 2000.

From 2000 - 2003, Col. Lapan served as press officer in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, The Pentagon, where, among other duties, he was Public Affairs liaison to U.S. Central Command during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

From 2003 - 2006 he was assigned as Public Affairs Officer, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, NC. In 2004, he served as PAO for Combined Joint Task Force – Haiti during Operation Secure Tomorrow and in 2005, served as PAO for Multi-National Force – West during Operation Iraqi Freedom.


Leadership, management, crisis communications, strategic communication, advisor to senior Marine Corps and Dept. of Defense leaders, writer, editor


David Lapan’s Experience

Director, Press Office

Dept of Defense

(Public Relations and Communications industry)

June 2009 — Present (1 year 8 months)

Deputy Director, Public Affairs

U.S. Marine Corps

(Government Agency; 10,001+ employees; Military industry)

April 2006 — Present (4 years 10 months)


United States Marine Corps

(Military industry)

1996 — Present (15 years )


Dept of Defense Press Operations

(Public Relations and Communications industry)

2009 — 2010 (1 year)


US Marine Corps

(Public Relations and Communications industry)

1983 — 2008 (25 years)

Public Affairs Officer:

II Marine Expeditionary Force (Fwd)

(Public Relations and Communications industry)

2004 — 2006 (2 years)

Press Officer:

Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs

(Public Relations and Communications industry)

July 2000 — August 2003 (3 years 2 months)

Press officer/spokesman responsible for news and information about the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), which included, during this period, the attack on the USS Cole, and Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Primary Public Affairs planner for CENTCOM operations and one of the principal planners in the development of the media embed program for OIF. Led several Integrated Product Teams (IPT) to develop communication plans and strategies for the Dept. of Defense on topics ranging from Afghanistan to Iraq. Assisted in preparation of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs for press briefings. Developed and coordinated Public Affairs Guidance for more than a dozen operations and exercises. Served as press officer for senior DoD policy-makers, to include the ASD for International Security Affairs, DASD for Near East, South Asia and the director of Net Assessment. Press office liasion to DoD's POW/MIA office.

Press Officer:

U.S. Department of Defense

(Public Relations and Communications industry)

2000 — 2003 (3 years)

Press Officer:

Office of The Secretary of Defense, The Pentagon

(Public Relations and Communications industry)

2000 — 2003 (3 years)

Air Traffic Controller/Marine Officer:

U.S. Marine Corps

(Military industry)

1980 — 1995 (15 years)

David Lapan’s Education

Penn State University:

Bachelor of Humanities (with distinction), Broadcast journalism/Humanities, 1992 — 1995

Formal military education includes Air Traffic Control "A" School, Defense Information School, Air War College and Naval War College (with distinction).

Activities and Societies:

Kappa Tau Alpha, College of Communications student council president


Military awards (personal): Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal (3), Joint Service Achievement Medal and the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

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