Thursday, May 26, 2022 from 10:00 AM to 11:15 AM EDT
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David Hayden, DANC Government Relations Chair 
Defense Alliance of North Carolina 


  The Defense Alliance of North Carolina (DANC) - invites you to join in virtually for the Government Relations Forum on Thursday, May 26 at 10:00AM

"Creating opportunities with DoD and ECU"

 brief provided by Keith Wheeler, Executive Director of ECU's Office of National Security and Industry InitiativesDivision of Research, Economic Development and Engagement

209 E. 5th Street | Greenville, NC 27858East Carolina University | Greenville, NC 27858 | 252-737-5569 | wheelerch18@ecu.edu

Keith Wheeler is the Executive Director of ECU’s Office of National Security & Industry Initiatives. A native of Manteo, NC, he graduated from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in 1986 and wascommissioned via the United States Naval Academy in 1990.

He retired from the U.S. Navy in December 2017as a Captain, with nearly 28 years as a surface warfare officer.His mission at ECU is to create opportunities for faculty and students with national security and industrypartners in our region and to continuously improve ECU’s DoD research portfolio. He was instrumental in thecreation of the Eastern North Carolina NavalX Tech Bridge and is a member of the board of directors for theNC Global TransPark in Kinston, as well as the ENC Food Commercialization Center in Ayden.

His final DoD assignment was to Northern Command, assigned to USCG Atlantic Area as the Senior Advisor andJ3 Liaison. He was instrumental in coordinating DoD, DHS, state and local assets in planning and execution ofthe preparation and response operations for a series of devastating hurricanes in the fall of 2017 thatimpacted Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

His prior assignment was Chief of Staff/Senior Advisor at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency(DARPA), advising the Director and other agency leaders on operational matters relating to technologyinitiatives. His other joint assignment was in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, workingfor the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Force Development. There he contributed to the 2010Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and led several DoD efforts focused on Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD)challenges.

Keith served as Commanding Officer in USS MCINERNEY (FFG 8), where he conducted the Navy’s firstautonomous at-sea flights of the Fire Scout VTUAV. He also led the successful night-capture in the easternPacific of a drug-laiden self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) while conducting Counter-Illicit Traffickingoperations in SOUTHCOM. The SPSS, dubbed BIGFOOT II was carrying over six tons of cocaine and wassubsequently transported back to the U.S. for extensive study and analysis.P

Prior to MCINERNEY, he was assigned to the Surface Warfare Directorate (N86) of the OPNAV staff,establishing the CG(X) Section of the Future Ships Branch. Other sea tours include Executive Officer in USSDONALD COOK (DDG 75), executing several tomahawk missile strikes during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM,Operations Officer on the staff of DESTROYER SQUADRON FIFTEEN, Yokosuka, Japan, Operations Officer in USSMITSCHER (DDG 57), commissioning Weapons/Executive Officer in USS FIREBOLT (PC 10), and Main PropulsionAssistant in USS MONONGAHELA (AO 178).

Keith earned a Bachelor’s degree in Ocean Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and a Master’s degree inNational Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College. His personal awards include twoDefense Superior Service Medals, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, sixNavy Commendation Medals and the Navy Achievement Medal.

The Defense Alliance of North Carolina (DANC) Goverment Relations Purpose:

  1. Assist the Executive Director and Senior Director in reviewing issues related to the Defense Alliance of North Carolina (DANC) and provide advice and recommendations to the DANC Executive Board and Management Council regarding same.
  2. Monitor State and Federal legislative agendas to identify legislation that is relevant to the DANC membership; provide recommendations, if appropriate, to the DANC Executive board and Management Council on policy positions.
  3. Develop strategies to educate DANC members on relevant government related issues
  4. Develop strategies to educate and communicate with legislators, organizations and other relevant parties regarding the Defense Alliance of North Carolina (DANC) and our position on any particular legislative issue as directed by the DANC Executive Board and Management Council
  5. Identify statewide and national associations with similar interests and provide recommendations and advice to the DANC Executive board and Management Council concerning opportunities to align organizations to strengthen advocacy on key issues.

DANC Government Relations Leaders:

David Hayden, DANC Government Relations Chair, Smith Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan, L.L.P. https://www.smithlaw.com/professionals-David-Hayden

Joe Angell, DANC Government Relations Co-Chair, Wiley Wilson https://www.wileywilson.com/


Register Now!

Use the login credentials below to access the virtual forum.


Meeting ID: 919 696 9863

Passcode: DANC

The Defense Alliance of North Carolina (DANC) is mission focused on growing North Carolina's defense economy in a way that creates new long-term investment opportunities. 

Our vision is to improve the economy of North Carolina by leading high-impact strategic growth initiatives, provide information and networking opportunities to NC entities with defense sector interests, and positioning key organizations and senior leaders to assist in the expansion of defense-related business opportunities throughout the state.