David has operated around the globe for over 30 years in every climate and terrain as a humanitarian, veteran, rescuer, instructor and certified bodyguard for high risk areas. David is the author of the acclaimed Defensive Tactics series which has been widely distributed through major retailers. He has an in depth unconventional background in special operations with the military, rescue, executive protection, counter terrorism, hostage rescue and human recovery operations. David is an accomplished entrepreneur and has created many successful enterprises from the ground up.


David has built and sold three companies from the ground up. He has a proven record of out performing goals by determining critical success factors, and then organizing teams and strategies needed to achieve them. David knows how to accelerate growth and develop a brand. He builds elite teams through the core leadership principles of honesty, integrity and commitment. David is a graduate of IKON OFFICE SOLUTIONS Presidents Business School has consistently been the recipient of many top performer awards and achievements.


David has been on many self-funded humanitarian mission including Haiti, Burma, Thailand, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and many others.


David is a decorated veteran with a decade of honorable active duty military service with the United States Air Force. He has participated in dozens of joint service military operations in multiple continents. David’s is a cold war veteran. Some of his mission include Desert Storm, Operation Cabanas, and Operation Flintlock a Special Operations tri-annual mission specializing in counter insurgency, counter terrorism, hostage rescue. He is a graduate of an elite hostage rescue school in England and was considered the most unconventional thinker by the instructors. He served on the Blue Knights Rifle Drill Team and the Honor Guard. He was recognized by over 200 students and the Cadre at Leadership School in Upper Heyford England where he received the John Levitow Award for being the top graduate. David ended his career with an honorable discharge and many top performer awards to include the Meritorious Service Medal.


David is a former Search and Rescue instructor and has participated in hundreds of missions to include, air operations, body recovery, search, cave rescue, mine rescue, vehicle extrication, vertical rescue, trench rescue, and fire support. Some of my key deployments include Haiti, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Alabama, Thailand, Burma and Japan after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.


David is a former Instructor for Dive Rescue International (DRI). He has worked with federal dive teams and has also instructed foreign Special Operations Helicopter pilots in water egress and operations. He served as the Vice President of the Rapid City Dive Team and as an operational diver performed many recoveries. It was in the ice covered and fast water environments where many of David's critical experiences were forged. He has recovered bodies under the ice, in deep water and in black water (zero visibility). He has recovered people under the water and ice from airplane crashes, automobiles, recreational vehicles and even animals.


David is a certified bodyguard for high risk areas through Crisis Response International (CRI) an Israeli based counter terrorism school. David has participated in anti-human trafficking operations, and been a personal bodyguard for commanders, business professionals and private citizens. In 2010 David was selected as the Chief of Security for the Utah Hospital Task Force. This was the largest volunteer organization that went to Haiti after the devastating earthquake to provide relief.


After the 9/11 attacks David founded the Urban Warfare Center and the Combat Stress Program. Thousands of soldiers, federal agents and police were trained to win the fight in through his branded stress inoculation training. According to senior military and law enforcement leadership these programs saved lives and reduced casualty rates.


David is the author of the Defensive Tactics DVD series sold in major retail channels. He is the founder of the acclaimed FREE Tactical Tips series, and actively teaches self-defense to women. David Burnell is formally trained in many styles of fighting, and is a National Tae Kwon Do champion in forms and full contact. He has taught U.S. Special Operations, Federal agents, SWAT Teams and Civilians his unique style of fighting. His unarmed fighting style and methods are crystalized into a system that is principle based and simple. His extensive experience includes, Chief of Security in post earthquake Haiti and Chief Bodyguard for the Task Force Commander. He is a USAF Veteran and a distinguished graduate of several shooting, tactical and emergency response programs. He has mastered many firearms and is a qualified Senior Instructor for both unarmed and armed combat. His operational experience extends from Military, RESCUE and Recovery and into Personal Protection in High Risk Areas.


“David has a special way of speaking that is captivating, relatable, and easy to learn from. He has so much wisdom and life experience that he is willing to share and I’m so glad that I’ve been able to learn from him.”

Candace Greninger

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