Smithsonian Journeys Experts

Ralph DeFalco

photo of Ralph DeFalco

Dr. Ralph L. DeFalco III is a historian, a writer, a lecturer, and a national security intelligence professional with experience during a career that spanned five decades.

He is retired from a 25-year military career in the rank of Captain in the United States Navy. He also served as a civilian intelligence professional on the Pentagon staff of the Director of Naval Intelligence and retired after 18 years of federal service. He is a distinguished graduate and former faculty member of the National Intelligence University. He is also a graduate, with highest distinction, of the College of Naval Command and Staff of the United States Naval War College and later served as Fleet Professor on the college’s faculty. He earned his doctoral degree at Georgetown University.

Dr. DeFalco is widely published and at home in several disciplines that include history, military history, geo-politics, national security intelligence and intelligence operations, strategy and policy, foreign affairs, and applied ethics.  He is a contributing author to the two-volume work The Central Intelligence Agency: An Encyclopedia of Covert Ops, Intelligence Gathering, and Spies and his numerous essays, articles, reviews, and commentaries have appeared in the pages of and on the web sites of Naval Institute Proceedings, Naval History Magazine, International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, International Journal of Intelligence Ethics, The National Strategy Forum Review, and H-net. He is a regular contributor to the Liberty Fund and his most recent work can be found on-line at