New Brigadier General Lew Irwin Combines Academic, Military Excellence
Dr. Lew Irwin, Duquesne University associate professor of political science, now is also Brigadier General Lew Irwin, commander of the 926th Engineer Brigade, a combat engineer unit of the U.S. Army Reserve based in Montgomery, Ala.
Irwin reaffirmed his oath of office during a reception and ceremony on Sept. 2 at the U.S. Army Reserve Center in Moon Township with about 250 friends and family members. His colleague in the political science department, the Rev. John Sawicki, C.S.Sp., provided the invocation and benediction at the ceremony. Major General Peter S. Lennon, commanding general of the 377th Theater Sustainment Command, gave remarks and reaffirmed Irwin's oath of office.
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 U.S. Army Reserve. But the ranks of those who reach Brigadier General while also obtaining doctoral degrees and working as college professors is even more rare, he added.
"The entire Duquesne community has been supportive of my service in the military," Irwin noted. "This promotion could never have happened without the exceptional support that my family and I have received from my colleagues, the staff and the administration at our great University."
Irwin, who teaches public policy and government, is a West Point civil engineering graduate who earned his doctorate in political science at Yale University and a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. He also serves as an Army Reserve Adjunct Professor of Research at the U.S. Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute.
In Duquesne's classrooms, Irwin focuses on the policymaking process and the techniques of policy analysis, as well as the U.S. Congress, public finance practices, and defense and foreign policy. He has authored three books on American politics and policy, and most recently published a book on Afghanistan and the U.S. strategic and interagency challenges there, Disjointed Ways, Disunified Means: Learning from America's Struggle to Build an Afghan Nation. From 2007 to 2008, Irwin led an interagency effort to design and implement a nationwide reform of the Afghan National Police.
Before coming to Duquesne, Irwin served in command and staff positions around the world for 14 years on active duty in the U.S. Army. A West Point political science professor for three years, Irwin has advised senior Army policymakers on the legislative process.
A veteran of Desert Storm in Iraq, he was deployed on a combat tour with the 3rd Armored Division. His Army duty has taken him to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bosnia, Panama, Germany and a number of stateside locations, including tours with the 101st Airborne Division, 3rd Armored Division, and 1st Armored Division. Decorated with two Bronze Stars, five Meritorious Service medals, five Army Commendation medals and two Army Achievement medals, Irwin is Airborne, Air Assault, Sapper and Jungle Warfare qualified.