Chris Bassford graduated with Honors from the College of William and Mary for a dissertation on tactical nuclear weapons. He obtained an MA in American diplomatic history from the Ohio University before serving five years on active duty as a U.S. Army field artillery officer, with tours in Korea and Germany. He then completed a Ph.D. in modern European history at Purdue University before accepting an Olin postdoctoral fellowship in national security studies at the Ohio State University. Subsequently, he was director of studies in the theory and nature of war at the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, then associate professor of National Policy Issues at the U.S. Army War College. He returned to the Marine Corps orbit as a concepts and doctrine analyst for Marine Corps Combat Developments Command. He is presently Professor of Strategy at the National War College, in Washington, DC. As an independent consultant, writer, and lecturer, he has spoken at schools as varied as UVA's Darden School of Business and the George C. Marshall Center for European Security Studies, in Garmisch, Germany.
Bassford is the internet editor of The Clausewitz Homepage, a large educational website that focuses on the German military philosopher Carl von Clausewitz. His own work on Clausewitz concentrates on the evolution of Clausewitz's reception, reputation, and impact in the English-speaking world. He is particularly interested in the relationship between Clausewitzian theory and concepts from the field of nonlinear science, a field which is having a great impact on modern thinkers in areas ranging from subatomic physics to economics, archaeology, and evolutionary biology. His current focus is the possible nexus between modern evolutionary theory and the effective use of "big picture" history in strategic education and thought.
Current: Professor of Strategy, National War College, Washington D.C., 1999-present.
Senior Analyst (USMC) via Computing
Technologies, Inc. (COTS) and Universal Systems & Technology, Inc. (UNITECH),
1996-1999. (UNITECH has been acquired by Lockheed Martin and evidently no longer exists as an entity.) Award
citation, COTS Employee of the Year, 1997
Associate Professor of National Policy Issues, U.S.
Army War College, Carlisle, PA, 1994-96.
Assistant Professor of National Security Affairs
and Director of Studies in the Theory and Nature of War,
USMC Command and Staff College, Quantico, VA, 1992-94.
Olin Postdoctoral Fellow in Military History and National
Security Studies, Ohio State University, 1991-92.
History Instructor, Purdue University, 1989-91.
Officer, United States Army Field Artillery, 1981-86. (Tours in Korea, Germany; highest
rank held: Captain.)
Ph.D., Modern European History, Purdue University, August 1991
Dissertation: "The Reception of Clausewitzian Theory in AngloAmerican MilitaryThought, 1815-1945" (517pp)
M.A., American Diplomatic History, Ohio University, 1981
B.A., History, College of William and Mary, 1978
Academic Honors for thesis: "Tactical Nuclear Weapons:
An Introduction for theGeneral Reader" (136pp)
The SpitShine Syndrome: Organizational Irrationality
in the American Field Army (Westport,CT:
Greenwood Press, 1988). See description.
Clausewitz in English: The Reception of Clausewitz
in Britain and America, 1815-1945 (New York:
Oxford University Press, 1994). History Book Club selection. (See full text on-line.)
"Clausewitz, General Philipp Gottlieb von," in William
E. Simon, ed., Professional
Military Education in the United States (Westport, CT:
Greenwood Press, 2000).
“The Primacy of Policy and the ‘Trinity’ in Clausewitz's
Mature Thought,” in Hew Strachan and Andreas Herberg-Rothe, eds., Clausewitz in the Twenty-First Century (Oxford University Press,
"Introduction," to Carl von Clausewitz and Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, et al., On Waterloo: Clausewitz, Wellington, and the Campaign of 1815 (Clausewitz.com, 2010), pp.1-13.
"Clausewitz in America Today," Clausewitz Gesellschaft, Reiner Pommerin, ed., Clausewitz Goes Global: Carl von Clausewitz in the 21st Century [Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Clausewitz Society] (Berlin: Carola Hartmann Miles Verlag, 2011), pp.342-356.
Theodore Roosevelt, The Naval War of 1812 (Annapolis:
Naval Institute Press, 1987 [originally published
1882]); James Pack, The Man Who Burned the White House (Annapolis:
Naval Institute Press, 1987), in Indiana Journal of Military History,
vol.13, no.3 (1988).
John B. Hattendorf, England in the War of the SpanishSuccession: A Study of the EnglishView
and Conduct of Grand Strategy, 17021712 (New York: Garland, 1987),
in The International History Review, vol.X, no.4 (November 1988).
Charles W. Ingrao, The Hessian Mercenary State:
Ideas,Institutions, and Reform Under Frederick II, 17601785 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), in The International
History Review, vol.XI, no.2 (May 1989).
Charles C. Moskos and Frank R. Wood, eds., The
Military:More Than Just a Job? (London: PergamonBrassey's,
1988), in the Journal of Political and Military Sociology, vol.17,
no.1 (SpringSummer 1989).
Carl von Clausewitz, eds./trans. Peter Paret and Daniel
and Political Writings (Princeton: Princeton University Press,
1992), The International History Review, vol.XIV, no.4 (November
Peter Paret, Understanding
War: Essays on Clausewitz and the History of Military Power(Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1992), The International History Review,
vol.XVI, no.3 (August 1994).
Jan F. Triska, The Great War’s Forgotten Front: A Soldier’s Diary
and a Son’s Reflections (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), The Austrian History Yearbook, v.XXX (1999).