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A-10 Conference Participants Bios

Danielle Brian has been the Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) since 1993. She frequently testifies before Congress and regularly meets with Members of Congress and officials at the White House and federal agencies to discuss how to achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government. In the world of defense reform, she cut her teeth on tracking the declining requirements of the Sgt. York DIVAD, research that contributed to its cancellation. Since then she has continued to investigate and expose wasteful defense spending and conflicts of interest between the defense industry and the government, such as in the Boeing Tanker Lease scandal, with the goal of ridding the defense acquisition system of waste and fraud. She has also lectured at the National Defense University. 

Thomas Christie began his career in the Department of Defense and related positions in 1955.  He retired from the Pentagon in February 2005 after four years as director of Operational Test & Evaluation. There he was responsible for advising the secretary of defense on policy and procedures for testing weapon systems and for providing independent evaluations of the test results to both the defense secretary and Congress. He earlier served as director of the Operational Evaluation Division at the Institute for Defense Analyses, where he was also intimately involved in DOD weapons testing. Between 1985 and 1989, he was director of program integration in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, responsible for developing processes for managing the defense acquisition system. Prior to that, he had served in two separate positions under the assistant secretary of defense (Program Analysis and Evaluation): director of tactical air division and deputy assistant secretary of defense for General Purpose Programs. Before coming to the Pentagon in 1973, Christie was the director of the Weapon System Analysis Division at the Air Force Armament Laboratory, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., where he had begun his career as a weapons analyst.

Charles E. (Chuck) Myers served as the Director for Air Warfare in the Office of the Secretary of Defense between 1973-78 during which time he launched Project Harvey which later became known as the "stealth" program (see The Five Billion Dollar Misunderstanding by James Stevenson, Naval Institute Press). Chuck had the extraordinary experience of playing an integral role in creation and development of nine front-line military aircraft: the F-14, F-15, A-10, F-16, F-18, EF-111, EA-6B, F-117 and the B-2. While in DDR&E, his projects included Pershing, Tomahawk, Advanced Sparrow and Sidewinder, HARM, IR Maverick, Laser Guided Bombs and AMRAAM.

In 1961, Mr. Myers created Aerocounsel, Inc., a mini-think tank to serve the aerospace community. Since then, he has consulted or worked for 16 aerospace companies, NASA, FAA, GAO, CNA, IDA, OMB, CSIS, DoD, USAF and USN. During the past forty years he has written and lectured about various military missions including air superiority, close air support, fleet air defense and fire support for ground forces. In 1978, he began the effort which led to reactivation of the Iowa Class battleships and much later, a Navy proposal to create a Battle Surveillance Airship to assist in air defense against the "sea skimmer" cruise missile threat. This was coupled with briefings on his Littoral Warfare study which illuminated the need for a dedicated "fire support ship". During 1985-2000, Aerocounsel, conducted workshops on tactical air support for maneuver warfare. He chaired forums sponsored by COMNAVAIRPAC which led to a novel concept wherein fixed-wing pilots perform as a self-adaptive cooperative element in support of infantry. 

Mr. Myers had the unique experience of completing both Army Air Corps and Navy pilot training. He flew low-level attack versions of B-25s with the Fifth Air Force in the Pacific Theater in WWII, separating from the Army Air Force in October 1945. Chuck then served as an USAF reserve pilot while attending Lafayette College, graduating with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1949. He was then commissioned Ensign, USN and trained as a Naval Aviator, graduating in April 1951 and later joining VF-72 to deploy aboard the carrier USS Bon Homme Richard to fly F9F-2 Panther jets in the Korean War.

In 1954, Lt. Myers graduated from Navy Test Pilot School after which he flew as a Navy Test Pilot for nearly two years before resigning to become a civilian engineering test pilot for CONVAIR. His first assignment was to develop a new flight technique for the "Pogo Stick" VTOL Navy fighter. After this project was terminated for engine problems, he joined the CONVAIR fighter-interceptor test team at Edwards AFB, CA. During five years at Edwards, he served as President of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, became Chief Test Pilot on the USAF F-106 program and flew the speed envelope extension necessary for the Air Force to capture the World Speed Record from Russia in 1960 at 1,544 mph. He later flew with the U.S. Army during early experiments using armed helicopters for fire support at Ft. Rucker, Alabama. In December 1999, Chuck was inducted into the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society's Hall of Fame for his contributions to aeronautical progress during the past 50 years.

Jonathan Shay M.D., PhD. was a staff psychiatrist for 20 years at the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic, Boston where his only patients were combat veterans with severe psychological injuries. He retired from clinical work in May 2008 to devote himself full time to preventative psychiatry in military organizations-what he calls his "missionary work." While he has written and lectured on matters that have interested academics, he has not had a conventional faculty position anywhere for decades. Sporadically, he has held positions within US military institutions such as Visiting Scholar-at-Large at the US Naval War College (2001); he performed the Commandant of the Marine Corps Trust Study (1999-2000); he served as Chair of Ethics, Leadership, and Personnel Policy in the Office of the US Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (2004-2005), and for the spring semester 2009, he was the Omar Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership at the US Army War College jointly with Dickinson College. He has been a MacArthur Fellow since the January 2008. He is the author of Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character (1994) and of Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming (2002). The latter has a Foreword authored jointly by US Senators John McCain and Max Cleland. He is currently attempting to "wrestle to the ground" a multi-volume work titled, Trust Within Fighting Forces: Its Significance, Its Creation, Maintenance, and Destruction. He has contributed to understanding the role of theater in the democratic polity of classical Athens, where every citizen was ipso facto as a soldier or sailor, and the polity itself was constantly at war. He is planning expansion of this theme into a book, once the wrestling match is over.

Dr. Shay has delivered a number of high profile names lectures in the Classics over the years, for example, The Eitner Lecture in Classics at Stanford University. The title was "Agamemmon, Achilles, Odysseus: Homer on Military Leadership."

Dr. Shay is Class of 1963 at Harvard College, has an "ABD" [wry smile] in sociology from the GSAS at Columbia, and an MD-PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.

William E. “Smitty” Smith Jr.,  Lt Col, USAF/ANG (Ret) spent 26 years in the Army, Air Force and Air National Guard (ANG).  He flew scout, transport and utility helicopters as a Warrant Officer in the Army for eight years.  With the Air Force and ANG he flew the A-10, accumulating more than 3,000 hours, including 128 combat sorties in the Balkans, the second Iraq War and Afghanistan.  In Iraq and Afghanistan he served as Squadron Commander.

Pierre Sprey consulted for Grumman Aircraft's research department from 1958 to 1965, then joined Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara's "Whiz Kids" in the Pentagon. There, in 1967, he met the Air Force's brilliant and original tactician, Col. John Boyd and quickly became a disciple and collaborator of Boyd's. Together with another innovative fighter pilot, Col. Everest Riccioni (U.S. Air Force), they started and carried out the concept design of the F-16 air-to-air fighter, then brought the program to fruition through five years of continuous bureaucratic guerilla warfare. More or less simultaneously, Sprey also headed up the technical side of the Air Force's concept design team for the A-10 close support fighter. Then, against even steeper opposition than the F-16 faced, he helped implement the A-10's innovative live-fire, prototype fly-off competition and subsequent production.  Sprey left the Pentagon in 1971 but continued to consult actively on the F-16, the A-10, tanks and anti-tank weapons, and realistic operational/live-fire testing of major weapons. At the same time, he became a principal in two consulting firms; the first doing environmental research and analysis, the second consulting on international defense planning and weapons analysis.  During this period, Sprey continued the seminal work of Col. Richard Hallock (U.S. Army/Airborne) in founding the field of combat history/combat data-based cost effectiveness analysis for air and ground weapons.  During the late 1970s, Colonel Boyd and Sprey, together with a small, dedicated group of Pentagon and congressional insiders, started the military reform movement. Attracting considerable attention from young officers, journalists and congressmen, the movement led to establishment of the Congressional Military Reform Caucus and to passage of several military reform bills in the early ’80s.  Sprey continues to work with reform-minded foundations and journalists.  Numerous articles, books and theses have described the work of Colonel Boyd and Sprey on the F-16, A-10 and military reform. These include Robert Coram's “Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War” (Little, Brown & Co., 2002) and James Fallows' “National Defense” (Random House, 1981).

John Tillson graduated from West Point in l966 and retired as a member of the Senior Executive Service in 2011.  In the interim he had a number of defense-related jobs that give him insight into close air support.  While in Vietnam in 68-69 he commanded an armored cavalry troop and had multiple occasions to employ both fixed and rotary wing air support in addition to artillery.  He also served as the squadron’s S-3 Air and spent many hours in an OH-6 managing support of all kinds – artillery, helicopter, and fixed wing.  During his subsequent career as a defense analyst and manager he had many opportunities to address close air support issues.  He has been a CAS and an A-10 advocate for many years. 

Winslow T. Wheeler focuses on the defense budget, why some weapons work and others don't, congressional oversight, and the politics of Pentagon spending. Before joining the Center for Defense Information in 2002, he worked on Capitol Hill for four U.S. Senators from both political parties and for the Government Accountability Office. At GAO and the Senate, Wheeler focused on Pentagon budget issues, weapons testing, the performance of U.S. systems in actual combat, and the U.S. strategic "triad" of nuclear weapons.

Greg Wilcox graduated from West Point in 1962, Lieutenant Wilcox was assigned as a reconnaissance platoon leader with the 82d Airborne Division in Ft. Bragg, NC. 

He went on to serve the first of three tours in Vietnam.  His first tour in 1964 was as an advisor to a Vietnamese infantry battalion where he was decorated by both the Vietnamese and U.S.  During this tour, he flew over 100 hours as an observer with an Air Force Forward Air Controller.  During a second tour in Vietnam in 1969 he was wounded during an aerial insertion and evacuated to the U.S.  His third tour in Vietnam was at the end of the war in 1972 where he served as the G-1/2 advisor to the Vietnamese 5th Division at the end of the Battle of An Loc in the “Easter Offensive”. 

As a captain, he commanded an armored cavalry troop on the East-West German border and later as the operations officer and executive officer of 1-14 armored cavalry squadron in the mid-1960s. 

After Vietnam, he attended the Naval War College in Newport, RI and completed his Master’s Degree in International Relations at the University of Colorado.

LTC Wilcox met retired COL John Boyd (USAF) in 1979.  Based on this encounter, LTC Wilcox used Colonel Boyd’s ideas from his “Patterns of Conflict” briefing to help shape the AirLand Battle and AirLand Battle-Future doctrines in the ground breaking 1982 FM 100-3, (Operations).  LTC Wilcox was a Foreign Area Officer later in his career with a specialty in strategy.  In that capacity he served on the G-3 staff (Strategy, Plans, and Policy) at Headquarters, Department of the Army before retiring in 1984. 

Since 1984 “Mr.” Wilcox has been a senior systems analyst and senior research engineer in the Washington office of SRI International, a non-profit, high-technology, independent research and development institute, headquartered in Menlo Park, California.  Mr. Wilcox has been involved in the development and testing of sensors, communications systems, and EW systems. He has assisted  military forces in both testing and training in the field.   For a short period, Mr. Wilcox served with JTF 510 in the Philippines as a liaison officer to the J2 for a SRI-developed overhead surveillance system subsequently used in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  He currently works under SRI contract to the U.S. Army CECOM Software Engineering Center’s Army Reprogramming and Analysis Team which provides force protection software updates based on threat information for both Counter Radio Controlled IED Electronic Warfare (CREW) systems and Aircraft Survivability Equipment. 

Mr. Wilcox maintains interest in current military concepts, operations, and strategy.   He presented briefings on 4th Generation Warfare to several groups and published several articles in professional military journals.  Mr. Wilcox is on the board of The Military Conflict Institute (TMCI), a member of the Senior Information Operations Advisory Council, and a participant with many other military-related professional associations.