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Damien A. O'Connell

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Damien O’Connell is a military historian, world-recognized facilitator and developer of decision games, and the owner and Senior Consultant of DAO Consulting.

From 2012-2016, Damien led the efforts of Marine Corps University’s Case Method Project to institutionalize the case method at The Basic School (TBS), the Marine Corps’ school for newly commissioned and appointed officers. His duties at TBS included developing decision-forcing cases (DFCs), facilitating DFCs for students and staff, and conducting workshops for students and staff on DFC development and facilitation. Damien also served as the project’s lead for all work with the Infantry Officer Course, the Schools of Infantry, and Fleet Marine Force.

From 2017 to 2021, Damien worked as a Senior Learning and Development Consultant at Cognitive Performance Group. As his primary role, he co-facilitated and later led the Innovative Instruction Workshop, a highly sought workshop sponsored by the Marine Corps’ Training and Education Command (TECOM). He was a founding member of the facilitator team, took part in each of the program’s 34 workshops, and worked with educators from every corner of TECOM.

From May 2020 to June 2023, he served as a Non-Resident Fellow with Marine Corps University’s Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Future Warfare.

As the Senior Consultant at DAO Consulting, Damien has successfully facilitated educational events and workshops for Green Cell Consulting; Southwest Traders; Vet Voice Foundation; the US Marine Corps’ Plans, Policies, and Operations Department; Marine Barracks Washington; Officer Candidates School; The Basic School; Wounded Warrior Battalion-East; Advanced Infantry Training Battalion-East; 8th Engineer Support Battalion; 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion; 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines; 1st Battalion, 8th Marines; 1st Battalion, 6th  Marines; 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines; 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines; 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines; Headquarters Battery, 11th Marine Regiment; Combat Logistics Battalion 15; 2nd Landing Support Battalion; Expeditionary Operations Training Group (I MEF); Recruiting Station New York; Recruiting Station Boston; Naval Service Training Command; the Midshipmen Battalion, Virginia Military Institute; the Capital Battalion, Washington, DC, NROTC; the Red Stick Battalion, Southern University and Louisiana State University NROTC; the Baltic Defence College; the Latvian NCO Instructor School; and the Latvian Training and Doctrine Command.

Over the course of his career, Damien has had the privilege of presenting or teaching multiple times at the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy, the Swedish Defence University, the Finnish National Defence University, the Estonian National Defence College, the Baltic Defense College, the US Naval Academy, the FBI National Academy, and elsewhere. He has also facilitated workshops for Avion Express, Microsoft, and the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

To stay abreast of developments in academic military history and educational wargaming, Damien has attended and presented at both the Society for Military History’s Annual Conference and the wargaming conference Connections USA.


In 2017, Damien founded The Warfighting Society (TWS), an organization focused on improving professional military education and encouraging comprehensive reform across the U.S. Armed Services and NATO forces. Damien is the host of Controversy and Clarity, a podcast of TWS, and the editor-in-chief of The Maneuverist, an outlet for original articles by military professionals and civilians.

Damien earned a Bachelor of History (summa cum laude) and certificate in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Arizona in 2009.

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