DU professor named Army general
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012 20:10
Political science professor Lewis Irwin was recently promoted to brigadier general in the U.S. Army, combining military and academic excellence.
As the brigadier commanding general, Irwin oversees 5,300 soldiers among 47 different units in eight southeastern states.
Irwin reaffirmed his oath of office in front of 250 friends and family during a reception and ceremony Sept. 2 at the U.S. Army Reserve Center in Moon Township.
“Of the 5,000 to 8,000 new Army officers commissioned upon college graduation each year, less than 1 percent rise to the rank of brigadier general,” said Capt. Adam Henning of the Army Reserve. “But the ranks of those who reach brigadier general while also obtaining doctoral degrees and working as a college professor is even more rare.”
Irwin said he is honored to have been given his new title, but said he does not expect much to change.
“I’ll still be doing the same things I’ve been doing all along,” Irwin said. “I hope to take on increasing responsibilities in the Army.”
Irwin is the commanding general of the 926th Engineer Brigade, a combat engineer unit of the Army Reserve based in Montgomery, Ala.
While also a of public policy and government at Duquesne, he also serves as an Army Reserve Adjunct Professor of Research at the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute, at Carlisle Barracks, Pa.
“I was involved with the military since I was 17 years old,” Irwin said.
He graduated from West Point Academy in 1986 with a degree in civil engineering before earning a doctorate in political science at Yale University and a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.
“I grew up believing that all of us have a responsibility to serve our nation in some way,” Irwin said. “For me, the military seemed like the right fit. I still believe that we all have a responsibility to contribute as citizens in a free republic.”
At Duquesne, Irwin focuses on the policymaking process and the techniques of policy analysis, as well as the Congress, public finance practices, and defense and foreign policy.
“Things I research and do as a practitioner, I incorporate into the class. From experiences, I bring real world examples to the classroom,” he said.
Irwin is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm in Iraq and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
“I was recalled to active duty from 2004 to 2005, during which I commanded a battalion responsible for training Soldiers for duty in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,” he said.
Irwin also had a brief mission in Iraq during that mobilization. The second recall was from 2007 to 2008, during which he served in Afghanistan, working with the Afghan National Police.
Before coming to Duquesne he served 14 years of active duty in the United States Army, during which he spent time in countries around the world such as Panama, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Germany.
Irwin has also written three books and published multiple journal articles.
His first book, A Chill in the House, focused on consequential changes in the policymaking process over the last several decades. His latest book, Disjointed Ways, Disunified Means: Learning from America's Struggle to Build an Afghan Nation, focuses on the U.S. government's strategic and interagency performance in Afghanistan.
“I’m currently working on a fourth book that will discuss potential reforms in the U.S. Congress,” Irwin said.
Irwin is active in a variety of veterans and community service organizations, in addition to his ongoing service in the U.S. military.
His most recent official Army duty was a two-week unit visit in Knoxville, Tenn. and this weekend he will spend time at his Montgomery headquarters.