Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff
Research Professor for Strategy, the Military Profession, and Ethic
Dr. Tony Pfaff is currently the Research Professor for Strategy, the Military Profession, and Ethic at the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI), U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, PA. and a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Atlantic Council.
A retired Army colonel and Foreign Area Officer (FAO) for the Middle East and North Africa, Dr. Pfaff recently served as Director for Iraq on the National Security Council Staff. His last active duty posting was Senior Army and Military Advisor to the State Department from 2013-2016, where he served on the Policy Planning Staff advising on cyber, regional military affairs, the Arab Gulf Region, Iran, and security sector assistance reform. Prior to taking the State Department position, he served as the Defense Attaché in Baghdad, the Chief of International Military Affairs for US Army Central Command, and as the Defense Attaché in Kuwait. He served twice in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, once as the Deputy J2 for a Joint Special Operations Task Force and as the Senior Military Advisor for the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team. He also served as the Senior Intelligence Officer on the Iraq Intelligence Working Group and as a UN observer along the Iraq-Kuwait border. Prior to becoming a FAO, Dr. Pfaff served on the faculty at West Point as an assistant professor of Philosophy. As a company grade Army officer, he deployed to Operation DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM with 82nd Airborne Division and participated in Operation ABLE SENTRY with the 1st Armored Division.
Dr. Pfaff has a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Economics from Washington and Lee University, where he graduated cum laude with Honors in Philosophy; a master’s degree in Philosophy from Stanford University, with a concentration in the History and Philosophy of Science and where received a graduate fellowship at the Center for Conflict and Negotiation; a master’s in National Resource Management from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, where he was a Distinguished Graduate; and a Doctorate in Philosophy from Georgetown University.
Dr. Pfaff has authored numerous articles in professional and scholarly publications including:
- “Striking the Balance: U.S. Army Force Posture Europe 2028”, with J.P. Clark, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, Carlisle PA, Winter, 2020 (TBP)
- “Western and Chinese Ways of War and Their Ethics: A Comparative Analysis” in Just War Ethics in Comparative Perspective: China and the West, Routledge Publishing, Fall 2020(TBP)
- “The Ethics of Acquiring Disruptive Military Technologies,” Texas National Security Review, Vol. 3, No. 1
- “The Ethics of Acquiring Disruptive Technologies: Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Weapon and Decisions Support Systems,” Prism, Vol 8., No. 3, January, 2020
- “The Ethics of Employing Private Military Companies,” in Private Military Security Companies Influence on International Security and Foreign Policy, Edward L. Mienie and Sharon R. Hamilton, editors, University of North Georgia Press, 2019
- “Ethics of Soldier Enhancement and the Lessons of WWI,” in A Persistent Fire: The Strategic Ethical Impact of World War I on the Global Profession of Arms, National Defense University Press, November 2019
- US Strikes in Iraq and Syria: Managing the Escalation, Atlantic Council, December 31, 2019
- The Iraqi PM’s Resignation: A Way Ahead for the United States, Atlantic Council, December 2, 2019
- Leaked Iranian intelligence about Iraq only tells part of the story, Atlantic Council, November 19, 2019
- The True costs of withdrawing forces from Syria, Atlantic Council, October 15, 2019
- Iraq Protests: How should Iraq and the US respond?, Atlantic Council, October 3, 2019
- The Saudi Oil Attacks Aren’t Game Changing. They Show How the Game Has Changed, Defense One, September 17, 2019
- How to Counter Iran’s Proxies, Atlantic Council, June 18, 2019
- “Human Security in the Arctic: Implications for the Army” in Parameters (Spring-Summer 2019)
- “The Leading Narratives on War-Crimes Pardons Are Wrong” in Defense One May 2019
- “Respect for Persons and the Ethics of Autonomous Weapons and Decision Support Systems” The Strategy Bridge, March 4, 2019
- “Moral Autonomy and the Ethics of Soldier Enhancement” Developing the Super Soldier: Enhancing Military Performance Kingston Conference on International Security, June 2018
- “How (Not) to Fight Proxy Wars” National Interest March 27, 2018
- “A Crisis of Norms: Fighting Irregular Wars Well” in Transformations of Warfare in the Contemporary World Temple, 2016
- “The Ethics of Complex Contingencies” and “Officership and Character” in The Future of the Army Profession, 2nd Ed (McGraw Hill, 2005)
- “Toward an Ethics of Detention and Interrogation: Consent and Limits” in Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly (2005)
He has also published a number of monographs with SSI including “Resolving Ethical Challenges in an Era of Persistent Conflict” (2011), “Development and Reform of the Iraqi Police Forces” (2008), and “Peacekeeping and the Just War Tradition” (2000).
Dr. Pfaff is married to Julia Louise Ellegood Pfaff of Red Bank, NJ; they have two children, Michael (26) and Andrew (24).
*The above information may not be current. It was current at the time when the individual worked for SSI or was published by SSI.
SSI books and monographs by Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff
Professionalizing the Iraqi Army: US Engagement after the Islamic State
January 29, 2020
Authored by Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff
The United States has spent—and continues to spend—billions of dollars building Iraq’s military capabilities. Despite that fact, Iraq’s military performance, even after wresting control of its territory from the Islamic State, remains inconsistent at best. A survey of Iraqi military history suggests a pattern of strengths, weaknesses, and performance that includes courageous soldiers, cohesive units, incompetent leaders, divided loyalties, poor combat support, and weak institutions that have, on occasion, risen to the defense challenge. If the United States is going to be more successful in developing Iraqi military capabilities, it will need to change its approach to better account for the Iraqi Army’s culture, history, and political environment.
Resolving Ethical Challenges in an Era of Persistent Conflict
March 29, 2011
Authored by Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff.
In this provocative monograph, COL Tony Pfaff argues that the challenges of combating irregular threats have fundamentally challenged the traditional “ethics of war,” and he offers a number of measures and policies that the Army must adopt if it is to not only successfully, but ethically, respond to these challenges.
Development and Reform of the Iraqi Police Forces
January 25, 2008
Authored by Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff.
The author seeks to show how social, political, cultural, and environmental factors have combined to impede Iraqi police development in ways that are predictable, understandable, and, with external help, resolvable.
Peacekeeping and the Just War Tradition
September 01, 2000
Authored by Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff.
In the Just War Tradition, as well as the Law of War, there has always been a tension between winning and fighting well, and the peacekeeping environment does not change this. Commonly, the resolution of this tension is expressed in the maxim: always use the least amount of force necessary to achieve the military objective.
Army Professionalism, the Military Ethic, and Officership in the 21st Century
December 01, 1999
Authored by Major John A. Nagl, Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff, Dr. Don M. Snider.
The authors first describe the ethical, technical, and political components of military professionalism and then address the causes for the decline. They conclude by proposing a set of principles which, if adhered to, will reinvigorate the vision of the officer corps and motivate the corps to selfless service.
SSI articles, editorial, and briefs by Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff
Military Ethics Below the Threshold of War
Parameters 50, no. 2 (2021)
Academe and the Military
Parameters 50, no. 1 (2021)
Human Security in the Arctic: Implications for the United States Army
Parameters 49, no. 1 (2019)
Strategic Insights: Proxy War Norms
December 18, 2017