About the authors

The authors of the FM website:

  1. Chet Richards
  2. Joe Bonham
  3. H. Thomas Hayden
  4. Don Vandergriff
  5. G. I. Wilson
  6. Marcus J. Ranum
  7. The collective pseudonym Fabius Maximus

The FM website has no party line, no one voice.  Everybody speaks their own mind, and their words do not represent the views of other contributors.

(1)  Chet Richards (Colonel, USAF, retired), former Editor

Ph.D. Mathematics.  Colonel, USAF, retired.  Long-time editor of the original Defense and the National Interest website (archived here — NO relationship to the site now at that address!), and blogs at Fast Transients.  He is Adjunct Professor of Strategy and Quantitative Methods at Kennesaw St. University in Atlanta, and author of

Alth0ugh he played a decisive role in the creation and early days of the FM website, and still provides valuable guidance, he assumes no responsibility for the material on this website.

(2)  Joe Bonham (pseudonym)

Joe completed 5 years in the US Marine Corps, including two tours in Afghanistan. He is now a Sergeant in the National Guard, deploying to the Middle East this Fall.

In the 1938 novel Johnny Got His Gun, by Dalton Trumbo, Joe Bonham was a young soldier serving in World War I, who awoke in a hospital bed after being caught in the blast of an artillery shell. He gradually realizes that he has lost his arms, legs, and face, but that his mind functions perfectly, leaving him a prisoner in his own body, and embarks on a struggle to communicate, and to retain his own sanity.

(3)  H. Thomas Hayden (Lt. Colonel, USMC, retired)

  • He retired after 35 years of service, which included the Agency for International Development, the Marine Corps, defense industry and the Pentagon. His specialties are Intelligence, Counterinsurgency Operations, Anti/Counter-terrorism, and Joint Concepts Development and Experimentation.
  • His Marine Corps assignments included command of two separate battalions; AC/S G-2, 4th MARDIV & AC/S G-2 FMFEurope; Branch Head, HQMC, Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC); Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for SO/LIC; and, Senior Program Analysts at HQMC with the Joint Staff and DoD at the Pentagon. Overseas combat assignments included Vietnam, Central America, Gulf War, Somalia and and Colombia.
  • He has a MBA (Pepperdine Univ) and an MA in International Relations (Univ of Southern California).
  • He has written two books and is working on a third.

Hayden’s other publications:

  • Warfighting: Maneuver Warfare in the US Marine Corps (1995)
  • Shadow War: Special Operations and Low Intensive Conflict (1991)
  • Contributor to Amphibious Assault: Manoeuver from the Sea, Royal Navy and Royal Marine (2005)
  • “Counterinsurgency in Iraq started with Fallujah”, Marine Corps Gazette, October 2007
  • “Winning Hearts and Minds — Afghanistan presents different problems,” Marine Corps Gazette, June 2010
  • See his past articles at Military.com (he no longer publishes there)
  • See his news columns at Poliquicks.Com.

(4)  Don Vandergriff (Major, US Army, retired)

He retired in 2005 at the rank of Major after 24 years of active duty as an enlisted Marine and Army officer.  He now works as a consultant to the municipalities, corporations, and the US Army.  See this page for a list of his books and other publications.

(5)  G.I. Wilson (Colonel, USMC, retired)

He on retired from the Marine Corps after 30+ years of military service, including several combat tours.  He co-authored the seminal paper “The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation”, Marine Corps Gazette, October 1989 (image here, text here).  He has Master of Arts degrees in forensic psychology and in Business and Organizational Security Management.  He teaches for the Administration of Justice Department of Palomar College (San Marcos, CA).  Also, he consults for ABC-7 Los Angeles, Knowledge and Intelligence Program Professionals KIPP), and the Emergency Response Research Institute (ERRI). See this page for his background, education, and publications.

(6)  Marcus J. Ranum

Marcus J. Ranum is Senior Strategist at Tenable Network Security and author of The Myth of Homeland Security (2003).

He is a world-renowned expert on security system design and implementation. He is recognized as an early innovator in firewall technology, and the implementor of the first commercial firewall product. Since the late 1980′s, he has designed a number of groundbreaking security products including the DEC SEAL, the TIS firewall toolkit, the Gauntlet firewall, and NFR’s Network Flight Recorder intrusion detection system.

He has been involved in every level of operations of a security product business, from developer, to founder and CEO of NFR. Marcus has served as a consultant to many FORTUNE 500 firms and national governments, as well as serving as a guest lecturer and instructor at numerous high-tech conferences. In 2001, he was awarded the TISC “Clue” award for service to the security community, and the ISSA Lifetime Achievement Award. Marcus is Chief Of Security for Tenable Security, Inc., where he is responsible for research in open source logging tools, and product training. He serves as a technology advisor to a number of start-ups, established concerns, and venture capital groups.

(7)  The pseudonym Fabius Maximus

(a)  Why write anonymously?

The authors are nothing; the content is everything.  From the manifesto of the Zero Hedge website:

Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the bill of rights, and of the first amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation– and their ideas from suppression– at the hand of an intolerant society. When responsibly used.

… the right to remain anonymous may be abused when it shields fraudulent conduct. but political speech by its nature will sometimes have unpalatable consequences, and, in general, our society accords greater weight to the value of free speech than to the dangers of its misuse.
— Justice Stevens writing for the majority in Mcintyre v. Ohio elections commission, 514 U.S. 334, 19 April 1995 (text)

Though often maligned (typically by those frustrated by an inability to engage in ad hominem attacks) anonymous speech has a long and storied history in the united states. used by the likes of Mark Twain (aka Samuel Langhorne Clemens) to criticize common ignorance, and perhaps most famously by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay (aka Publius) to write the Federalist Papers, we think ourselves in good company in using one or another nom de plume.

Particularly in light of an emerging trend against vocalizing public dissent in the United States, we believe in the critical importance of anonymity and its role in dissident speech. like The Economist magazine, we also believe that keeping authorship anonymous moves the focus of discussion to the content of speech and away from the speaker — as it should be.

Also from Zero Hedge:

Nor do we believe that any amount of author reputation is (or should be) able to prop up a bad piece. We credit our readers with the requisite intelligence and skepticism to do their own fact checking and assign their own credibility ratings to our content. (source)

(b)  Who was Fabius Maximus?

Fabius Maximus (280 – 203 BC) saved Rome from Hannibal by recognizing Rome’s weakness and the need to conserve its strength. He turned from the easy path of boldness to the long, difficult trek of rebuilding Rome’s power and greatness. His life holds profound lessons for 21st Century Americans.