Colonel D.J. Reyes
Colonel D.J. Reyes is the son of a Korean and Vietnam War Veteran and a proud Asian/Pacific Islander. Colonel Reyes began his military career after graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 1979. He was awarded the Patrick M. Dixon Award for the top graduating Army ROTC cadet and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in U.S. Army Military Intelligence. In 1982, he earned his Doctor of Law (J.D.) from Temple University Law School. In 2005, he earned his Master of Arts in National Strategy and Policy at the U.S. Naval War College. In 2013, he retired at the rank of Colonel with over 33 years of military service.
During his military career, Colonel Reyes provided direct intelligence support to senior U.S. government officials and U.S./multi-national/Special Operations Forces (SOP) Commanders in global hot spots throughout the Middle East, Afghanistan, North Africa, Bosnia, Kosovo, Korea and Haiti. He has commanded and led units at the Detachment, Company, Battalion, Brigade and Joint Site levels in both military intelligence and special forces/special operations units. Among his combat zone assignments, Colonel Reyes served as the Senior Division Intelligence Officer (G2), 101st Airborne Division, for General David Petraeus as part of the initial multi-national invasion force for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, captured in Pulitzer Prize recipient and war correspondent Rick Atkinson’s book, “In the Company of Soldiers: A Chronicle of Combat.” Among the operations included the finding and termination of Saddam Hussein’s sons – Uday and Qusayr Hussein – in Mosul, Iraq.
Colonel Reyes earned multiple combat and service medals and awards. He attended many military schools, including the U.S. Naval War College; U.S. Army Command and General Staff College; U.S. Army Airborne and Advanced Airborne Schools; U.S. Army Ranger School; and U.S. Army Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course. Colonel Reyes is also a graduate of the Canadian Airborne School and earned Canadian Jump Wings.
Upon military retirement in 2013, he served as Operations Officer, National Security Agency Field Office support to U.S. SOP HQ, MacDill Air Force Base. He and his wife founded Cuspis Vir Consulting LLC to leverage his leadership experiences further and impact positive change at the local and national levels for the Veteran and military communities. From 2013 to 2020, this company provided subject matter expertise to companies regarding how best to support Exceptional Family Member Program military families and special needs in health care and financial wellness. From 2016 to 2019, Colonel Reyes served as the Gulf Coast Florida Veterans Employment Coordinator (DoD contract directly supporting the Florida Employer Support to the Guard and Reserve). He interfaced with more than 1,000 companies in an 11-county region seeking to hire Veterans.
His community service experience established the cornerstone of his impact on the Veteran and military communities at every level. Most notable is his key support to the Veterans Treatment Court in Tampa, Florida – one of the largest in the United States. Over 90% of Veterans in trouble with the law and with a diagnosed disability or condition due to military service get needed medical treatment and community support and successfully graduate from the program. Tampa’s Court also saves millions of annual local taxpayers’ dollars because the Veterans are kept out of jail and reintegrated back into the communities through housing, schooling, employment, and community service initiatives.
Colonel Reyes also serves on the nationally based Veterans Court Coalition (VCC), three U.S. (Florida) Congresspeoples’ Veterans Advisory committees, the Florida Department of VA Legal Subcommittee, the Florida Veterans Council, and the Florida Veterans Foundation. He was recently appointed to the CDS Life Transitions Inc. Advisory Board for developing low-cost, attainable Veteran housing in Florida. In June 2019, Colonel Reyes briefed Tampa’s Veterans Court program in both the White House and on Capitol Hill and championed federal legislation supporting Veteran Courts nationwide (signed HR886 into law on August 7, 2020). He also directly supported the passing and signing of the PACT Act (Toxic Exposures). He continues to assist Florida and non-Florida Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) Mentor Coordinators as an advisor and trainer.
Three specific initiatives have thus evolved from Colonel Reyes’ VTC involvement: 1) By request of a U.S. Federal District Court Judge, Middle District of Florida, Colonel Reyes volunteered to mentor a Veteran defendant in federal court due to federal charges; 2) In conjunction with the VCC, Colonel Reyes is coordinating with the U.S. Tribal Courts, Navajo Nation, and the Kansas Potawatomi Tribes to establish a VTC on their respective reservations; 3) Colonel Reyes has joined the National Judicial College (NJC) Judicial Team of Judges who are currently advising the Ukrainian Ministry of Courts and Judges on how to establish their own VTC program.
Colonel Reyes has received multiple awards and recognitions. Local awards include a) WFLA (NBC) Channel 8 “Great Inspirations” of 2017 for his work in the Veterans Treatment Court; b) The Hillsborough County Bar Association’s highest Citizen Award – the Liberty Bell Award (2016) – presented to the citizen making the most positive impact to the criminal justice process; c) 2020 Tampa Bay Lightning (National Hockey League) “Community Hero” Award – a $50,000 award presented to the individual making the most impact to the local community; d) 2020 Lieutenant General James Peake Award (Bay Area Legal Services) for Outstanding Community Service to the Tampa Bay area Veteran community; and, e) 2020 University of Notre Dame’s Reverend William Corby Award – presented to a Notre Dame alumnus who demonstrated a career of distinguished military and community service to this nation. Nationally, the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) recognized Colonel Reyes in its inaugural ChangeMakers December 2020 edition. In 2022, Colonel Reyes was awarded the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) Distinguished Service Award and the Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW) National Citation for his local and federal advocacy in the VTC and other community service programs. He was also selected by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet for induction into the 2022 Florida Veterans Hall of Fame. Finally, in February 2023, Colonel Reyes was invited by U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Castor (FL-14) to accompany her at the President’s State of the Union Address in honor of his specific involvement with federal legislation supporting our Veterans.
Since 2013, Colonel Reyes has “improved his foxhole” with his wife Julie and their triplets – Alexis, Christian, and Samantha – in South Tampa. He continues to give back to his community with his 2020 Tampa Mayoral appointment to the Tampa Bay Citizens Review Board, formed to enhance trust between the Tampa Police Department and the community it serves by creating an unbiased panel of citizens to review completed disciplinary cases and issues of importance or interest to the community and the police department. He currently serves as the Board’s vice chair. Colonel Reyes is an advisory member on the WFTS (ABC) Community Panel for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and the National Louis University Board of Advisors for Organizational Leadership. He also supports local organizations in the fight against human trafficking activities. He has advocated establishing a Human Trafficking Treatment Court patterned after the successful and nationally renowned Tampa VTC model program.