Military Advisory Board

Founded in 1971, the Center for Defense Information was founded by a truly independent group of retired military officers to analyze military matters, inform decision-makers and the public, and influence policy. CDI became an alternative voice to what founders Admiral Gene LaRocque and Admiral Eugene Carroll believed was a Pentagon pushing self-serving data and analysis onto decision-makers.

CDI has evolved over the intervening four decades. The original admirals and generals are no longer at the helm, but their maverick spirit of loyal dissent endures. The mission of the Military Advisory Board is to bring additional practical military reform experience and provide independent counsel to further the mission and goals of the Center for Defense Information.

Lieutenant Colonel Tony Carr, USAF (ret.)

Photograph of Lieutenant Colonel Tony Carr, USAF (ret.)

photo supplied by Lieutenant Colonel Tony Carr, USAF (ret.)

Tony is an independent writer, journalist, commentator, and analyst specializing in military and defense issues. After serving for more than 22 years on US Air Force active duty, during which he flew C-17s in combat, commanded a flying squadron, earned a Distinguished Flying Cross, and served in multiple key advisory and staff posts, Tony retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2013 and started the John Q. Public project. Through the project, he pushes the Air Force toward institutional reform by bringing transparency, rigorous reporting, and a critical voice to issues impacting airmen, airpower, and the overall organization. His independent media outlet has evolved into a leading, credible voice on Air Force matters and a respected source of original reporting and hard-hitting analysis of issues touching national defense and military affairs, earning regular citations in a range of publications both online and offline. Tony also does considerable work advocating on behalf of veterans, appearing in print, online, and occasionally on television and radio networks to advance the shared cause of American servicemembers and contribute to the safeguarding of their heard-earned compensation and benefits against the pressures of budget austerity. Tony also studies law as a third-year student at Harvard, where he focuses on international law and serves as a Senior Editor on the school’s National Security Journal.

Lieutenant Colonel Daniel L. Davis, USA (ret.)

Photograph of Lieutenant Colonel Daniel L. Davis, USA (ret.)

Photo supplied by Lieutenant Colonel Daniel L. Davis, USA (ret.)

Daniel L. Davis retired from the US Army as a Lt. Col. after 21 years of active service.  He was deployed into combat zones four times in his career, beginning with Operation Desert Storm in 1991, and then to Iraq in 2009 and Afghanistan twice (2005, 2011).  He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Valor at the Battle of 73 Easting in 1991, and awarded a Bronze Star Medal in Afghanistan in 2011.  He earned a Master of International Relations from Troy University in 2006 and speaks level II German and level I Russian. Davis gained some national notoriety in 2012 when he returned from Afghanistan and published a report detailing how senior US military and civilian leaders told the American public and Congress that the war was going well while in reality it was headed to defeat.  Events since have confirmed his analysis was correct.

Davis recognized a problem in the initial proposed US troop surge plan for Afghanistan in 2009, identifying a mismatch between stated strategic objectives and the operational forces and strategy allocated to accomplish the task. He sought permission from Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) supervisors, and conducted thorough analysis of situation, identified shortfalls, and then recommended alternative courses of action (an unclassified version of report located here). Virtually all the risks identified in the report with the Administration plan in 2009 did in fact come to pass.

In 2008 Davis recognized a problem with operating concept of the $20 billion modernization plan, the Future Combat Systems (FCS).  Based on his research and combat experience Davis knew the system would not adequately protect soldiers and had major, potentially fatal vulnerabilities built into the communications system.  During his assignment he identified the major problems, developed a set of recommended solutions, and presented them to senior Army leaders.  He later published an article in a professional journal outlining the problems and solutions. One year later the Secretary of Defense canceled the program, citing most of the problems outlined in Davis’ analysis.

His work on defense, foreign affairs and social issues has been published in the New York Times, Financial Times, CNN, The Guardian (UK), US News & World Report, and other publications.  Davis was also the recipient of the 2012 Ridenhour Prize for Truth-telling. Davis lives in the Washington, DC metro area.

Major Donald E. Vandergriff, USA (ret.)

Donald Vandergriff

Photo supplied by Major Donald E. Vandergriff, USA (ret.)

Donald Vandergriff served 24 years of active duty as an enlisted Marine and Army officer. He has authored 60 articles, contributed chapters in three other books, and has written four and co-written five books: Spirit, Blood and Treasure: The American Cost of Battle in the 21st Century (Presidio Press, May 2001), a collection of essays that addresses across-the-board reform of the Department of Defense for the 21st century; Path to Victory: America’s Army and the Revolution in Human Affairs (Presidio Press, May 2002), an extensive study of the Army’s personnel system and culture, with recommendations for preparing the Army for the 21st century; Raising the Bar: Creating and Nurturing Adaptability to Deal with the Changing Face of War (Center for Defense Information, December 2006), which is currently being used in numerous courses, including in the Department of Military Instruction at the United States Military Academy at West Point; and Manning the Legions of the United States and Finding Tomorrow’s Centurions (Praeger, October 2008), an excerpt of which was, in July 2008, sent by Army Chief of Staff General George W. Casey, Jr., to all two-star generals as a recommendation for best practices on how to develop Soldiers; Adaptability Handbook for Law Enforcement (with Fred Leland)(Amazon, January 2014) which advises law enforcement officers how to become adaptive.  He has a forthcoming book out the Fall of 2015 called The Missing Link: Developing Personnel For Mission Command, a Superior Command Culture (USNI, JUL 2016), and finally with Fred Leland, The Tactical Decision Handbook for Law Enforcement, (Create Space, Summer 2016).

From 2005 to January 2013, Vandergriff was a senior analyst in leader and Soldier development as a contractor in support to U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Army Capabilities Integration Center (Forward) in Crystal City, Virginia. He deployed to Afghanistan in February 2013 to work for Dyncorp International as a trainer and mentor for Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF). He is also currently a consultant to several U.S. Army general officers on how to develop adaptability, has provided several recommendations to U.S. Army Cadet Command as well as the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, GA. He is also a visiting professor at the NATO Joint Training Center, Poland; and at the Baltic Defense College, Estonia.

He has also consulted several law enforcement agencies, particularly the Baltimore City Police Department on leader development from NOV 2009 to May 2011. He is currently at Yorktown Systems Group Inc. SME regarding Adaptability and Mission Command, while providing innovative education and training methodologies focusing on leader and teacher development, as well as team building.

Colonel Gary I. Wilson, USMC (ret.)

Photograph of Gary I. Wilson Colonel USMC (ret)

Photograph supplied by Gary I. Wilson Colonel USMC (ret)

Col Wilson’s military service spanned three decades. He earned his commission in 1972 and became an infantry officer. Following several years as a police officer in North Carolina, he re-entered service in 1979. He spent time as the head of Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict Branch. He is a veteran of Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Provide Relief (Kenya), and Restore Hope (Somalia). As a young captain, he worked with other reformers to develop the Marine Corps’ emerging Manoeuvre Warfare doctrine.

Based on his extensive and profound expertise in antiterrorism and security, he was recalled from retirement from 2004-2006 for combat duty in Iraq to lead the Multinational Force-West Antiterrorism and Force Protection Red Team to work with Combined Joint Special Forces personnel. He is a recognized civilian and military subject matter expert regarding fourth generation warfare. He has been published in numerous professional journals and has contributed to several books regarding national security and emerging threats. He currently resides in California where he teaches criminal justice courses at Palomar College and San Diego State University.

Colonel Michael D. Wyly, USMC (ret.)

Photograph of Colonel Michael D. Wyly, USMC (ret)

photo supplied by Colonel Michael D. Wyly, USMC (ret.)

Michael Duncan Wyly is a native of Kansas City, Missouri. He took the oath as a Marine Private in 1957, two days after his 17th birthday. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Marines on 6 June 1962 upon graduation from the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis. He requested “Infantry Officer” as his specialty, and his request was granted.

Following a tour on Okinawa as a rifle platoon commander he received special training at the U.S. Army’s John F. Kennedy School for Special Warfare and was assigned in 1964 to instruct in the 1st Marine Division’s Counterguerrilla/Counterinsurgency School at Camp Pendleton, California. When the 1st Marine Division deployed to Vietnam in 1965, because of his special training in Counterinsurgency and Vietnamese Language, he was assigned as Division Psychological Warfare Officer operating with Vietnamese Popular Forces in the villages of Quang Nam and Quang Tri Provinces with a mission of winning the support of Vietnamese people in the countryside and bringing about defections among the Viet Cong.

He was promoted to Captain of Marines in 1966 and reassigned to Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C., from which he volunteered for a second tour in Vietnam, this time as Commanding Officer of a Rifle Company, Company D, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. Company D saw intensive combat West of DaNang in the An Hoa Basin, the Song Thu Bon River Valley and what became known as the “Arizona Territory” and “Go Noi Island”. He was wounded in the head and received the Purple Heart Medal and Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V” for valor.

Upon return to the United States and continuation of his Marine Corps career through the ranks of major, lieutenant colonel, and colonel, he served overseas two more times in the Western Pacific as Operations Officer and Executive Officer of Ready Afloat Battalion 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines (“Magnificent Bastards”) and subsequently as Assistant Chief of Staff for Training, Marine Corps Bases, Pacific. Stateside tours included Quantico, Virginia, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and Professor of Naval Science and Commanding Officer, Reserve Officers Training Corps, University of Kansas.

Throughout his post-war service, Colonel Wyly published prolifically in military journals and taught in Marine Corps Professional Schools at Quantico while leading a revision of Marine Corps tactics with a view toward making them fully relevant to the exigencies of modern war. In keeping with this endeavor he earned a Masters Degree in Russian and Military History from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., receiving his diploma in 1983. During this same period he also began a revision of teaching methods at Quantico, this under the guidance of and with the encouragement of then Major General Bernard E. Trainor, U.S.M.C., then Director of the Marine Corps Education Center, discarding the lecture format and adopting the case study method, historical studies, and exercises in combat decision-making.

Colonel Wyly’s final tour before retirement in 1991 was at Quantico, Virginia, where he headed the Concepts and Plans Division of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab and subsequently was assigned as the first Vice President of the Marine Corps University, a top-level professional school established in 1989 based on a concept he had personally proposed in 1987 to Commandant of the Marine Corps General Alfred M. Gray. In this capacity he continued his work revising instructional methods throughout Marine Corps schools.  In the course of these assignments he was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Legion of Merit.

Subsequent to retirement in 1991, Colonel Wyly moved to Maine where he founded Bossov Ballet Theatre, a pre-professional school and performing company devoted to classical ballet and formed around Russian Ballet Maestro Andrei Bossov, formerly a principal with Kirov Ballet, St. Petersburg, Russia. While serving as the school and theater’s Executive Director, he continued to publish in professional journals on modern war and lecture occasionally at military schools. In the July 2008 issue of Armed Forces Journal he published an article titled by the Editor “In Praise of Mavericks”. In the fall of 2013 he resigned his position as Executive Director, passing control of the enterprise to Maine Central Institute, the private school that has housed the ballet’s studios since its inception. He bequeaths a legacy of solid discipline, pride, and integrity.

Colonel Wyly and his wife, Linda, currently reside in Pittsfield, Maine, where he conducts a program for Public Speaking for Youth under the auspices of the American Legion, remains active in community affairs, and from where he travels periodically to Quantico, Virginia, to participate in forums relative to continued development of military tactics.

We would like to thank Philip A. Straus Jr. and family for their generous support.