Vargus, Rich

Dr. (Col) Richard Vargus initially retired in 1995 after 24 years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps and Army. Following retirement, he began an extended career in law enforcement, assuming positions in federal and local law enforcement, most notably as an FAA Special Agent Canine Coordinator for the FAA Easter Region, serving on the FBI New York Joint Terrorist Task Force immediately after 911 as well as the Operations Officer of the newly established New York Federal Air Marshal’s Office. In 2003 he transitioned to become a Deputy Sheriff with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

In Jan 2005 Dr. (Col) Vargus was recalled to Active Duty deploying to Iraq in Jan 2005 Commanding the Iraqi National Police Academy in An Numaniyah Iraq train over 7000 Iraqi National Police Officers. From 2006 to 2012 he retained on active duty where he assume the duties as Chief of Law Enforcement Operation Directorate Joint Security Office, US Central Command. Dr. Vargus had oversight of 35,000 Military Police, and Security forces, theater customs operations, protective services in the 26 country CENTCOM area of responsibility. Most notably establishing the canine program that directed deployments and utilization of over 1200 military, contract and coalition explosive and narcotics canine teams.

Dr. Vargus returned to retired status in October 2012 and entered federal civilian service as the Department of the Army Military Working Dog Program manager. In 2018 he was selected as the Department of Defense Canine Program Manager, in both positions developing global canine policy, establishing the global strategy to provide canine interoperability supporting overseas contingencies, US Secret Service National Security Special Events and POTUS, VPOTUS, SECSTATE travel. Dr. Vargus retired from federal service this past April 1st.

Dr. Vargus is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff, Air War College, Senior Leaser National Security Management Course and holds a Doctorate in Public Administration and Masters in National Security Studies. He and his wife, retired Lieutenant Colonel Norma Vargus, a veteran of tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dr. Vargus and his wife hail from New York City and currently reside in Alexandria Virginia.


Class: Defunding Police Canines: A Proposed Strategy

This course will describe the current climate and public perception of police dogs. We’ll be reviewing current canine use of force statistics and how a joint effort between the community, police and municipality can dispel myths and become better educated on the importance of dogs as police tools.


Class: Chem-Bio Exposure Decontamination of Working Dogs: Mitigating the Threat

This course will provide an overview of the threat of chem-bio exposure to our dogs, discussing the failure of the government to prepare for it, how to identify decontamination protocols and the need to develop canine PPE. What’s the way ahead?