Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff

Research Professor for the Military Profession and Ethic

Dr. Tony Pfaff is currently the research professor for the Military Profession and Ethic at the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI), U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, PA.

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:

  • “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 2019 (TBP)
  • “The Ethics of Privatizing the War in Afghanistan” in The Future of Privatized Military Companies, University of North Georgia Press, Summer 2019 (TBP)
  • “Ethics of Soldier Enhancement and the Lessons of WW1” in Strategic Military Ethics Primer, National Defense University Press, Winter 2019 (TBP)
  • “Professionalizing the Iraqi Army” Strategic Studies Institute ( Fall, 2019)
  • “Ethics of Acquiring Disruptive Technology: Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Weapon and Decisions Support Systems” in the Interagency Journal (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.

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SSI books and monographs by Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff

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.