Retired Rear Admiral Don Loren spoke Friday with veterans and representatives of state and federal government at the quarterly meeting of the Arkansas Veterans Coalition at the headquarters of the Department of Arkansas Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) located at 4210 E. Kiehl Ave. in Sherwood.

Loren discussed the importance of energy independence as a critical component of national security policy.

Participants were able to ask questions of Rear Admiral Loren. Questions ranged from how veterans could be involved in supporting oil and natural gas issues to how instability in oil-producing regions could disrupt national security. Loren engaged the crowd with his knowledge and experience in public service.

Loren is a native of Massapequa, N.Y., a thirty-one year veteran of the United States Navy and is currently an advisor to and liaison with national Veteran Service Organizations (VSO’s) on behalf of the Vets4Energy program. He most recently served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Security Integration.

A 1974 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Loren served fourteen years in at-sea billets as a surface warfare officer, including command of the guided missile frigate USS ELROD and the Destroyer Squadron TWENTY-EIGHT. He has also served in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations, the Joint Staff, the staff of the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Commander in Chief, Allied Forces Southern Europe/Commander, Joint Task Force Allied Force, and the congressionally appointed Commission on Roles and Missions of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Following his decorated Naval career, Loren has also served as a Senior National Intelligence Service Executive in the Office of the Director, National Intelligence, where he was assigned as the Deputy Director for Operations Support at the National Counterterrorism Center.