LtCol Daniel Schmitt, USMC Retired




  1. Home
  2. Speakers
  3. Speaker Detail
photo of LtCol Daniel Schmitt, USMC Retired

Guard Unit

LtCol Daniel Schmitt, USMC Retired

Dan Schmitt is a proven futurist and innovator with over 30 years of experience in dynamic leadership, complex problem solving and strategic foresight. He brings specific experience in developing emerging concepts, presenting alternative perspectives and fostering relevant cultural change to meet the demands of a quickly changing strategic landscape. With an abundance of experience leading change and adaptation in uncertain, complex and competitive environments, Dan excels at providing goal-oriented focus to diverse, distributed and multi-faceted teams in rapidly changing environments.


Currently, Dan serves as the CEO of Guard Unit, which provides Red Teams, Red Cells and Adaptive Threat Forces to organizations seeking to strengthen their strategies, plans and operations against likely competition in a high-fidelity environment. He has provided these services to the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, US Special Operations Command, US XVIII Corps (Airborne), Marine Corps Air/Ground Combat Center, Marine Corps Training and Education Command, along with a host of other partners facing complexity in their current and future operating environments. Prior to joining Guard Unit, Dan served for nearly 30 years in the United States Marine Corps as an Infantry Officer. He has led units from the squad to the battalion in scores of operations in multiple contingency and combat deployments. He has also served multiple tours as a military advisor to foreign militaries, and was responsible for Marine Corps live force experimentation, resulting in the realization of the Urban Warrior Program, Distributed Operations concept, the SEA DRAGON 2025 line of experimentation focused on adapting the service for future overmatch. Dan’s last assignment in the USMC was to serve as the Marine Corps’ recognized expert to the Office of the Secretary of Defense Close Combat Lethality Task Force, due to his unique perspective and rounded experience in small unit infantry close combat.


When not leading Marines or advising foreign militaries, Dan held several key instructor positions in the Marine Corps, always focused on future concepts, cultural adaptation, organizational behavior and leading change. Dan has been a recognized leader in innovation and creative adaptation, serving as a key speaker at such forums as AUVSI, AUSA, Modern Day Marine, and several universities and professional forums. His operational innovation has been highlighted in multiple professional journals, such as the Marine Corps Gazette, and Invisible Armies (Max Boot, 2013), and he has been professionally published. Dan has attended a host of US and foreign military schools throughout his career and holds a B.S. in Leisure Studies from University of Illinois, and a M.A. in Military Operational Art from Marine Corps University. He has attended Command and Staff College, School of Advanced Warfighting, Air War College, University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies (Red Team Leader) and holds a certificate in Foresight from the University of Houston, among other professional certifications and qualifications.