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Omid "David" Townsend is a PhD candidate in the Department of War Studies, King's College London, and a member of King's Intelligence and Security Group (KISG). His research interests are currently focused on the Russian Intelligence Services (RIS) Illegals.

David holds an MA in International Affairs from Georgetown University, where he wrote his thesis on counterinsurgency and Afghanistan. He also holds a BA from Portland State University.

He currently serves as the lead instructor for the University of West Florida’s Intelligence Analysis Program and principal partner at the London Washington Consulting Group.

David served as a US Army intelligence officer on active duty and in the reserves for over 12 years. He also worked in the defense and intelligence community as a contractor supporting a number of government agencies and military units focusing on counterterrorism, threat finance, counterproliferation, cybersecurity and sanctions. 

Research Interests

  • Tradecraft
  • Russia
  • Iran
  • KGB
  • GRU
  • SVR
  • Counterintelligence
  • Cybersecurity


Title: The Evolution of Technology and its Impact on the Russian Illegals Program

David’s research aims to explore the impact of technological advancements on human intelligence (HUMINT) operations, with a specific focus on the Russian illegals program.

Supervisor: Dr Daniela Richterova