Shawn Turner is a visiting senior fellow with The German Marshall Fund of the United States based in Washington, DC, where he focuses on the manipulation and weaponization of information by state and non-state actors seeking to influence international affairs and political outcomes in Western democracies. He is also a national security analyst for CNN and a founding partner of MPACT Communication — a Northern Virginia-based communication strategy and research consultancy. Shawn previously served as the chair of the Communication and Information Operations Department at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security (DMGS). While serving as chair, he significantly advanced the development of the Information Operations Program, and taught several graduate courses including Fundamentals of Digital and Human Influence, and Mass Influence: Theory and Practice. Prior to joining DMGS, Shawn was a senior communications executive in the U.S. government. His positions included deputy White House press secretary for National Security, director of communication for National Intelligence at the office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and press secretary for Foreign Affairs for the National Security Council (NSC). At ODNI, Shawn was responsible for managing and coordinating all internal and external communication on behalf of the 17 agencies and components that make up the Intelligence Community. At the White House and the NSC, Shawn was the principal spokesperson for U.S. foreign policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He also helped develop the U.S. government’s approach to communicating intelligence reform in 2014.
Through his expert work in risk, organizational, crisis, and national security communication, Shawn has earned a reputation as an innovative leader with the ability to develop and implement highly effective persuasive campaigns. He is an established educator in the field of communication research strategy and the co-author of “Best Practices in Risk Communication for National Defense” published in The Handbook of Science and Technology for Homeland Security. Shawn currently serves on the Board of Advisors for the National Security Agency, and the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law. During the past five years, Shawn was named one of Washington DC’s top decision-makers by the National Journal (2013), honored with the Intelligence Community Leadership Award (2015), and in 2016, Shawn was awarded the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award for outstanding career accomplishments and exemplary service to the nation. Prior to his civilian career, Shawn served 21 years as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. He received his bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Texas State University and master’s degree in communication from George Mason University.