National Center for Policy Analysis Executive Director Allen West was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia in the same neighborhood where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once preached. He is the third of four generations of military servicemen in his family.
West was commissioned through ROTC at the University of Tennessee as a Second Lieutenant (2LT) on July 31, 1982. He entered active duty service in the U.S. Army on November 1, 1983 at Fort Sill to attend the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course. He later attended airborne training at Fort Benning. West’s first assignment was as an airborne infantry company fire support team leader and battalion training officer in the 325th Airborne Battalion Combat Team. In 1987, he was promoted to Captain and attended the Field Artillery Officer Advanced Course.
He was then assigned to the 1st Infantry Division, where he commanded Bravo Battery, 6th Field Artillery Regiment and was a Battalion Task Force fire support officer for 2d Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment. While with the 1st Infantry Division, he participated in Operations Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.
After redeployment from Kuwait, West served as an ROTC instructor at Kansas State University from 1991 to 1994. In January 1995, he was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division Support Command as the Assistant Operations/Combat Plans Officer. During that time, West was promoted to Major and selected for attendance to the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and graduated in 1997. Afterward, he became the Operations Officer of the 18th Field Artillery Brigade, followed by assignment as the Executive Officer of the 1st Battalion, 377th Field Artillery Regiment. Upon completion of these positions, West was assigned to the II Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Lejeune, and selected to serve as an Army exchange officer to this headquarters from 1999 to 2002.
West’s culminating assignment to his career was as Battalion Commander of the 2d Battalion 20th Field Artillery, 4th Infantry Division. He assumed command of this unit on June 6, 2002. He deployed with his unit during the Iraq War in 2003 and continued to command his battalion until his retirement from the Army in 2004 after 22 years of honorable service in defense of the Republic.
West's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star; Meritorious Service Medal (two Oak Leaf Clusters); Army Commendation Medal (three Oak Leaf Clusters, one Valor Device); Army Achievement Medal (one Oak Leaf Cluster); Valorous Unit Award; Air Assault Badge; and the Master Parachutist Badge. Lt Col West proudly wears the Army Parachutist Badge, the Air Assault Badge, the Navy/Marine Corps Parachutist Wings, the Italian Parachutist Insignia, and the German Proficiency Badge.
After his retirement from the Army in 2004, Allen taught high school for a year before returning to Afghanistan as a civilian military adviser to the Afghan army, an assignment he finished in November 2007.
In November of 2010, Allen was honored to continue his oath of service to his country when he was elected to the United States Congress, representing Florida's 22nd District. As a member of the 112th Congress, West introduced seven major pieces of legislation, and was the original sponsor of H. R. 1246 which reduces costs at the Department of Defense, was passed unanimously (393-0), and signed into law by President Obama as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Congressman West voted for the Balanced Budget Amendment, and voted for over 30 different bills designed to empower small businesses, reduce government barriers to job creation, boost American competitiveness, encourage entrepreneurship and growth, and maximize American energy production.
He is a Fox News Contributor, the author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Family, Faith and Freedom, and regularly writes for numerous media outlets, including his website, allenbwest.com.
West is an avid distance runner, a Master SCUBA diver, and a motorcyclist, and in his spare time he enjoys cheering his beloved Tennessee Volunteers. He is a member of the NRA, the VFW, the American Legion, the University of Tennessee Alumni Association and the Kansas State University Alumni Association. He also sits on the boards of the Friends of Israel Initiative and Northwood University, and is Honorary Chairman of the Bipartisan Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation.
His wife, Angela, holds an MBA and Ph.D. and is a financial planner.