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Bing West          

Correspondent & Military Author

F.J. Bing West is a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly. He previously served as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, responsible for defense policy around the globe during the Reagan administration. An expert on the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as defense, national security and geopolitical issues, he penned The Strongest Tribe: War, Politics, and the Endgame in Iraq.

West is also the author of six books on national security and the military. His Vietnam classic, The Village, has been on Commandant of the Marine Corps Reading List for twenty years. His novel, The Pepperdogs, is in film development by Universal Studios. The March Up won the Marine Corps Heritage Prize and the Colby Award for Military History in 2004. His most recent book, No True Glory, was cited in The Washington Post as a “top ten” book on foreign policy and won the 2006 National Media Award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Film rights to No True Glory were sold to Universal, with Harrison Ford to play the lead role. West wrote the first screen treatment.

West was cited by The Los Angeles Times as one of the top ten journalists covering Iraq, where he has made 11 trips over the past four years and embedded with over 30 US battalions. His articles appear regularly in The Atlantic Monthly, The Wall St. Journal, The New York Times and Slate, and in professional journals like the Military Review. He appears frequently on The News Hour, CSPAN and NPR.

A graduate of Georgetown University and Princeton University, he served as a Marine infantry officer in Vietnam, seeing combat in the villages and jungles. His subsequent travels to battlefields include El Salvador, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, Kuwait, Iraq, the Congo, Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, The Philippines and Korea. He has also been an analyst at the Rand Corporation, a visiting professor at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, Dean of Research at the Naval War College and Vice President of The Hudson Institute.

His awards include the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, the Department of the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Medal and Tunisia’s Medaille de Liberté. He is a consultant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and a member of the Middle East Institute, St. Crispin's Order of the Infantry and the Council on Foreign Relations.


Lessons from Iraq:Flawed Execution or is America Unwilling to Fight?

National Security and the Military

The Strongest Tribe: War, Politics, and the Endgame in Iraq

Speech Topics

The Strongest Tribe: War, Politics, and the Endgame in Iraq

National Security and the Military

Lessons from Iraq:Flawed Execution or is America Unwilling to Fight?

Courage Under Fire: Can It Be Taught?

West has spent 50 years on battlefields in jungles, mountains, cities, and villages. Using video he filmed during combat, West brings the audience into firefights, pointing out which soldiers were acting bravely. Drawing upon thousands of interviews and the hundreds of firefights described in his books, he focuses upon six men with astonishing valor. Were they born with courage in their genes? Or was courage instilled by their environment – at home, in school, and later in the military? Can courage be predicted before battle? Can it be taught? Or is courage transitory, dependent upon a particular set of circumstances? Is courage transferable from the military to business?

War Strategy and Combat Decision Making: Enduring Lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bing West has written eight best-selling books about the wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. As one reviewer wrote, “If anyone knows combat — and knows how to write about combat — it’s Bing West.” He explains how war strategy was devised at the top, how it was carried out in the field, and why it goes awry. In the view of the Washington Post, “West’s greatest strengths are his exceptional personal courage and his experienced perception of combat.” Illustrating with combat videos he filmed during hundreds of patrols, West moves the narrative effortlessly from the corporal to the general to the White House. He bluntly identifies names and assesses the reasons for good and bad decisions. He then draws lessons about courage and leadership and discusses the nature of war in the 21st century. Drawing upon his first-hand experience as a policymaker and a grunt, he poses the question: Can America defend itself by leading from behind?


Bing West speaks at UCF: Lessons from the Middle East
"The problem about future warfare against the United States of America is that no one ever again is going to wear a uniform -- ever," journalist, author and former marine Bing West told a UCF audience Tuesday...
Bing West's Article on Afghanistan
Helmand Province, Afghanistan - In early 2011, National Review published "With the Warriors," my description of the savage struggle to control Sangin District in the southern part of this province...

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