Dr. Thomas A. Marks

Distinguished Professor & MG Edward G. Lansdale Chair of Irregular Warfighting Strategy


THOMAS A. MARKS assumed his present rank and position on 1 July 2016 after 12 years as the founding Chair of the War and Conflict Studies (WACS) Department, as well as Professor of Terrorism, positions he was asked to occupy at CISA following 9-11 as a consequence of his extensive academic and field experience concerning irregular warfare.

A former US government officer who is a member of the editorial board of Small Wars and Insurgencies (London), he previously served as the Oppenheimer Chair of Warfighting Strategy at the Marine Corps University (Quantico) and as a longtime Adjunct Professor at both the Air Force Special Operations School (AFSOS) and the intelligence community’s Sherman Kent School. In 2006, he was named awarded AFSOS Educator of the Year; in 2007, he received the Royal Military Institute of Manitoba “Fellow” Award. A graduate of the United States Military Academy, Dr. Marks completed his doctoral work in his home state of Hawaii, where for 14 years he was Chair and Professor of Social Science at Academy of the Pacific, a private high school, and – for more than two decades – a highly successful cross country and track coach.

He has authored hundreds of publications. His most recent books, both edited volumes, are the People’s War: Variants and Responses (2018) and Perspectives on the American Way of War: The U.S. Experience in Irregular Combat (2019). He was awarded the Military Medal “Faith in the Cause” on 28 July 2014 by the Colombian Army for contributions to the country’s counterinsurgency effort, and in 2016 received a MINERVA grant to pursue fieldwork on the topic of female combatant motivation in the Nepali Maoist insurgency. Appropriate publications have followed. Most recently, his co-authored article (with CISA’s Dr. David Ucko), “Violence in Context: Mapping the Strategies and Operational Art of Irregular Warfare,” Contemporary Security Policy (February 2018), received the Bernard Brodie Prize 2019 for the best 2018 article. It may be added in passing that during the heyday of Soldier of Fortune, Marks was for a decade the magazine’s Chief Foreign Correspondent.