David W. Barno is a Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at American University’s School of International Service (SIS) where he teaches graduate and undergraduate studies and pursues research on conflict and military adaptation. He is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center at the Atlantic Council. For nearly five years previously, Barno was a Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Responsible Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security. A highly decorated military officer with over 30 years of service, he has served in a variety of command and staff positions in the United States and around the world, to include command at every level. He served many of his early years in special operations forces with Army Ranger battalions, to include combat in both the Grenada and Panama invasions. He now frequently serves as an expert consultant on leader development, the changing character of conflict,, Guard and Reserve force structure and use, as well as emerging national security issues supporting a wide-range of government and other organizations. Since March 2015, he has been a Board Member of the Reserve Forces Policy Board, which serves as an independent advisor to Secretary of Defense on Reserve and National Guard matters.
David Barno (born 1954) is a retired Lieutenant General of the United States Army. He was overall commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005, forming and leading the new headquarters of Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan.
Barno is a native of Endicott, New York. His military education includes the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, New York; Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced courses, Command and General Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College. In his civilian studies, he earned a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies at Georgetown University.
Barno was commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry upon graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, Class of June 1976. He started his career with the 25th Infantry Division, where he served as a rifle, weapons and scout platoon leader. He later commanded rifle companies in the 25th Infantry Division and the 1st Ranger Battalion, leading a Ranger Company during the invasion of Grenada in 1983.
In 1988 Barno joined the 2nd Ranger Battalion as S-3 (Operations) officer, and later parachuted into Panama during Operation Just Cause. He subsequently served as the aide de camp to the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.
General Barno commanded the 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, followed by command of the 2nd Ranger Battalion at Ft Lewis, Washington. Following attendance at the Army War College, he commanded the Warrior Brigade, a multi-functional support brigade at Fort Polk, Louisiana, which supported the Joint Readiness Training Center. He then directed the Joint Task Force training program at U.S. Atlantic (later Joint Forces) Command in Norfolk, Virginia. Between three Ranger Battalion tours and command of the 3rd Bn, 505th PIR in the 82nd Airborne Division, he accumulated over 110 parachute jumps, to include a 500-foot night-time parachute assault into Panama in 1989, during which 11 of 15 jump aircraft were struck by enemy fire.
Following selection to Brigadier General, General Barno served as the Assistant Division Commander (Operations) of the 25th Infantry Division and later as Deputy Director of Operations, U.S. Pacific Command. Barno was promoted to Major General in 2001 and served as the Commanding General of the Army’s largest initial entry training base at Fort Jackson, SC. During his time at Ft. Jackson, he led two Chief of Staff Army Task Forces on the Future Force Soldier and the Warrior Ethos. Barno was the principal author of the Army's 2003 culture-changing Warrior Ethos which dictates: "Mission First, Never Accept Defeat, Never Quit, and Never Leave Behind a Fallen Comrade." In January 2003, he deployed to Hungary as the Commanding General of Task Force Warrior tasked to train Free Iraqi Forces in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
General Barno was appointed to the rank of lieutenant general in November 2003 at age 49, becoming the first member of his West Point class of 1976 to achieve that distinction. The previous month, he deployed to Afghanistan where he was designated to establish a three-star headquarters in Kabul and ultimately command over 20,000 Coalition Forces for 19 months as the first Commander, Military Operations-Afghanistan (later redesignated Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan), United States Central Command. During his tenure, he forged a close relationship with U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, co-locating his command at the U.S. Embassy compound and creating an integrated civil-military counter-insurgency campaign plan for Afghanistan focused on the Afghan population.
After command in Afghanistan, General Barno was reassigned to the Pentagon in Washington, DC where he served on the Army Staff as the first three-star Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management (ACSIM) for the U.S. Army until his decision to retire in the spring of 2006.
After retirement from active duty, General Barno served as the Director of the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University from 2006 to 2010. From 2007-2009 he also served concurrently as the Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom Veterans and Families for the Secretary of Veterans' Affairs.
General Barno travels widely and has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Tufts, Johns Hopkins SAIS, West Point, and the US Army and Naval War Colleges and taught at the graduate level in Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program. He co-teaches a graduate course on military adapatation and an undergraduate course on the human face of battle at American University’s School of International Service, and is co-writing a book on military adaptation to be published by Oxford University Press. With Dr. Nora Bensahel, he also co-authors a regular national security column at the blog War on the Rocks called “Strategic Outpost.” Since leaving active duty, General Barno has testified over a dozen times before Congress on Afghanistan and Pakistan, al Qaeda, military readiness and Joint Professional Military Education. He frequently consults with members of Congress and staff on current national security issues, participates in Track II diplomatic dialogues, and speaks on leadership to a variety of business and military audiences.
General Barno's many awards and decorations include the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Defense Superior Service Medal (three awards), the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (with silver and bronze oak leaf clusters), the NATO Meritorious Service Medal, the Department of State Meritorious Honor Award, the Army Commendation and Achievement Medals and several campaign and unit awards for combat actions. He also has been awarded the Master Parachutist Badge with Combat Star, Pathfinder Badge, Ranger Tab, and German parachutist badge. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute of Strategic Studies, and serves on the U.S. Army War College Board of Visitors.
(As of Sep 2016)