A native of Medford, Massachusetts, Colonel Neil J. Owens graduated from The George Washington University in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1995. An artillery officer, he has the secondary military occupational specialties of Northeast Asia Regional Affairs Officer and Foreign Security Force Advisor.
Colonel Owens’ operational assignments include 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines (2/11) where he served with Echo and Fox Batteries and deployed twice to Okinawa with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU); 3d Battalion 11th Marines (3/11), where he served as Commanding Officer of Mike Battery, Battalion Logistics Officer, Fire Support Coordinator for 7th Marine Regiment, and battalion Executive Officer, and from which he deployed twice to Iraq—once as the J35 for Multi-National Security Command-Iraq and once as the Fire Support Coordinator for Regimental Combat Team 7—and once to Okinawa; the United Kingdom Amphibious Forces (UKAMPHIBFOR) in Portsmouth, UK where he served as the Fires Exchange Officer as part of a Royal Marines exchange, deploying to Iraq as a J5 planner for Multi-National Division (Southeast); 3/11, where he again served as the Executive Officer and from which he deployed to Afghanistan as the G-3 Operations Advisor/ Deputy Team Chief for the 215 Afghan National Army (ANA) Corps Advisor Team (AT); 3d Battalion, 12th Marines, where he served as Commanding Officer; and III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF), where he served as the Fires and Effects Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator and deployed to Iraq to serve as the Chief of Staff for the Joint Operations Command—Iraq (JOC-I).
His supporting establishment assignments include: the US Army Field Artillery School in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he served as a gunnery instructor for both FAOBC and the Field Artillery Captain’s Career Course; Fires and Maneuver Integration Division (FMID), Combat Development & Integration (CD&I), Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC) where he served as the Rockets/Artillery Capabilities Integration Officer; and Marine Corps Installations Pacific (MCIPAC), where he served as the Current Operations Officer and as Assistant Chief of Staff, Government and External Affairs (G-7).
Colonel Owens graduated from Expeditionary Warfare School (EWS); Australian Command and Staff College; and the U.S. Army War College (USAWC), where he was a distinguished graduate. He has a Master of Arts in Strategy and Policy from the University of New South Wales (Australia) and a Master of Arts in Strategic Studies from USAWC. He was awarded the Marine Corps Association’s 2017 General Holcomb writing award for his thesis on Japan’s Defense Strategy.
His decorations include the Bronze Star w/Gold Star, the Joint Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Gold Stars, the Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Navy/ Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon.