The rapid growth of the number of wireless devices has brought an exponential increase in the demand of the radio spectrum. However, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), almost all the radio spectrum for wireless communications has already been allocated. In addition, according to FCC, up to 85% of the allocated spectrum is underutilized due to the current fixed spectrum allocation policy. To alleviate the spectrum scarcity problem, FCC has suggested a new paradigm for dynamically accessing the allocated spectrum. Cognitive radio (CR) technology has emerged as a promising solution to realize dynamic spectrum access (DSA). With the capability of sensing the frequency bands in a time and location-varying spectrum environment and adjusting the operating parameters based on the sensing outcome, CR technology allows an unlicensed user to exploit the licensed channels which are not used by licensed users in an opportunistic manner.In this dissertation, distributed intelligent spectrum management in CR ad hoc networks is explored. In particular, four spectrum management issues in CR ad hoc networks are investigated: 1) distributed broadcasting in CR ad hoc networks; 2) distributed optimal HELLO message exchange in CR ad hoc networks; 3) distributed protocol to defend a particular network security attack in CR ad hoc networks; and 4) distributed spectrum handoff protocol in CR ad hoc networks. The research in this dissertation has fundamental impact on CR ad hoc network establishment, network functionality, network security, and network performance. In addition, many of the unique challenges of distributed intelligent spectrum management in CR ad hoc networks are addressed for the first time in this dissertation. These challenges are extremely difficult to solve due to the dynamic spectrum environment and they have significant effects on network functionality and performance. This dissertation is essential for establishing a CR ad hoc network and realizing networking protocols for seamless communications in CR ad hoc networks. Furthermore, this dissertation provides critical theoretical insights for future designs in CR ad hoc networks.