Richard H. Kohn » People

TISS is an inclusive organization and welcomes all persons with an interest in informed discussion about national security events.  At its core are some fifty scholars and practitioners who are very active in the organization and are listed in the Directory.  Also noted in this section of the website are a number of groups and individuals who have played – and in most cases continue to play – a special role in the life of TISS.  These include our founders, Board Members (Past and Present), undergraduate scholars (Wickershams), graduate students who have participated in our New Faces program, and Fellows (Past and Present).

Richard H. Kohn

Photo of Richard H. Kohn
Professor Emeritus of History and Peace, War, and Defense UNC-Chapel HillHistory Work 1520 Pinecrest Road Durham NC 27705-5817 Work Phone: (919)419-0323
: Richard H. Kohn is Professor Emeritus of History and Peace, War, and Defense at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. From 1992-2006 he chaired the Curriculum in Peace, War, and Defense and from 1992 to 2000 he directed the Triangle Institute of Security Studies, an inter-university and interdisciplinary consortium of faculty in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina interested in national and international security broadly defined. Born and raised in Chicago, he was educated at Harvard (A.B. magna cum laude, 1962) and the University of Wisconsin (M.S. 1964, Ph.D. 1968), and taught military and American history, and civil-military relations, at CCNY and Rutgers University-New Brunswick, and as a visiting or adjunct professor at Dickinson College and the US Army and National War Colleges. From 1981 to 1991 he was Chief of Air Force History and Chief Historian for the United States Air Force on the air staff in Washington, heading the Office of Air Force History, overseeing the USAF Historical Research Agency, and serving as the functional manager of the worldwide command history program. He has been a Pulitzer Prize juror, a two-term president of the Society for Military History (1989-1993), served on the Advisory Board of the US Air Force’s Gulf War Air Power Survey and the Air University Board of Visitors, chaired the research and collections management advisory committee of the National Air and Space Museum, and in the late 1990s was a member of the National Security Study Group, the group of scholars and practitioners who assisted the US Commission on National Security/21st Century (the Hart-Rudman Commission) that reviewed American national security policies and institutions. Most recently he served as a congressional appointee on the Independent Review Panel reporting to Congress on the Department of Defense’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review. He continues to consult on national security in the defense community and with the media. His honors include certificates for Patriotic Civilian Service from the Army, awards for Organizational Excellence and Exceptional Civilian Service from the Air Force, Carolina’s John L. Sanders Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching and Service, the American Historical Association’s Herbert Feis award for distinguished contributions to public history, and the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize of the Society for Military History for significant contributions to the field. A specialist in American military history and civil-military relations, Kohn is the author or editor or co-author or co-editor of some ten volumes in the field, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist Eagle and Sword: The Federalists and the Creation of the Military Establishment in America, 1783-1802 (1975). His other books include the edited volume, The United States Military under the Constitution of the United States, 1789-1989 (1991) which was the first-ever American volume of the International Commission on Military History series, Revue Internationale d’Histoire Militaire, and (as one of five co-authors) The Exclusion of Black Soldiers from the Medal of Honor in World War II (1997), the report that resulted in the award of seven medals of honor to black soldiers of that conflict. His most recent book is an edited volume with Peter D. Feaver, Soldiers and Civilians: The Civil-Military Gap and American National Security (2001), the result of a three-year project investigating the difference between military and civilian attitudes and perspectives in the United States. Recent writings have focused on contemporary civil-military relations, including “Beyond Sequester: Improving National Defense in an Age of Austerity,” Joint Force Quarterly, No. 70 (Summer 2013), 47-54, “First Priorities in Military Professionalism,” Orbis (Summer 2013):380-389, and “Civilian Control of the Military: The Most Important Thing You’ve Never Thought About,” International Society of Barristers Quarterly, 48, 3(2014):1-27. He is currently putting together a collection of his essays on the subject for Routledge Publishers, and continuing work on a study of presidential war leadership in American history. Address: 1520 Pinecrest Road Durham, NC 27705 Telephone: (919) 419-0323 E-mail:
: None
: Professor Emeritus of History and Peace, War, and Defense
: UNC-Chapel Hill
: PhD
: History
: University of Wisconsin – Madison
: Active
: American Military History Civil-Military Relations