Johnson, DavidDr. David E. Johnson is a Senior Fellow at CSBA.  Dave joined CSBA after eighteen years with the RAND Corporation, where he was a Principal Researcher. His work focuses on military innovation, land warfare, joint operations, and strategy. Dr. Johnson is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University where he teaches a course on strategy and military operations and an Adjunct Scholar at the Modern War Institute at West Point. From June 2012 until July 2014, he was on a two-year loan to the United States Army to establish and serve as the first director of the Chief of Staff of the Army Strategic Studies Group.

Before joining RAND, he served as a vice president at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) following a twenty-four year career in the U.S. Army, where he served in command and staff positions in the Infantry, Quartermaster Corps, and Field Artillery branches in the continental United States, Korea, Germany, Hawaii, and Belgium. He retired as a Colonel in 1997.

His military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Parachutist’s Badge, Ranger Tab, Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Army Staff Identification Badge, the Ancient Order of Saint Barbara, and the Noble Patron of Armor.

His work has been featured on the professional reading lists of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force Chiefs of Staff, The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Commander, the Chief of Staff Royal Air Force (United Kingdom), the Chief of Staff of the British Army, the Royal Australian Air Force Chief of Staff, and the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence. He has served as a member of the Maneuver and the Fires Centers of Excellence Advisory Boards, and as a consultant to the U.S. Defense Science Board and the U.S. Army Science Board.

He has MA and Ph.D. degrees in history from Duke University. He also has an MMAS from the U.S. Command and General Staff College, an MS from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and a BA from Trinity University.

Dr. Johnson is the author or coauthor of numerous books, articles, and reports including:

– Fast Tanks and Heavy Bombers: Innovation in the U.S. Army, 1917–1945

– Learning Large Lessons: The Evolving Roles of Ground Power and Air Power in the Post–Cold War Era

– Hard Fighting: Israel in Lebanon and Gaza

– The 2008 Battle of Sadr City: Reimaging Urban Combat

– “Fighting the ‘Islamic State’ The Case for US Ground Forces”

– “The Challenges of the ‘Now and Their Implications for the U.S. Army”

– “You Go to COIN with the Military You Have: The United States and 250 Years of Irregular War”


He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.



Bachelors of Arts

Trinity University

Masters of Military Arts and Sciences

U.S. Command and General Staff College

Masters of Sciences

National Defense University

Masters and Ph.D. in History

Duke University