John Gordon, Ph.D.

Professor of National Security Affairs
Command and Staff College
Col, USMCR (Ret.)

Contact Information

Phone: (703) 784-6863
Areas of Interest: Security Studies, History

Civilian Education

Ph.D. History, Duke University
M.A. History, Duke University
B.A. English, The Citadel


Military Education

U.S. Army War College (Writing Award) via CSC Program
Marine Corps Command and Staff College Reserve Course


Dr. John W. Gordon serves as Professor of National Security Affairs, Command and Staff College, Marine Corps University, as Coordinator, MMS Program, and as Editor in Chief, The Breckinridge Papers: Selected Studies from the Marine Corps University. He teaches also in the security studies program at Georgetown University. He joined the faculty at the Command and Staff College in July 2001, having previously also served as a member of C&SC’s Adjunct Faculty when that body comprised Ph.D.-holding Marine Corps Reserve officers drawn from teaching and administrative ranks in civilian academe.

From 1972 until 2001 he served as a professor, faculty research fellow, vice chair of an academic department, and dean of undergraduate studies at The Citadel, Charleston, SC. In these years he was also a visiting professor at the U. S. Military Academy, West Point, NY, and at Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, and served as an academic associate of the Atlantic Council of the U. S. and as an academic representative to the Association of NROTC Colleges and Universities. He served on committees relating to South Carolina’s Commission on Higher Education, the South Carolina Humanities Council, and for a term was chair of the state’s Commission on Agent Orange.


He is author of The Other Desert War: British Special Forces in North Africa, 1940-1943 (Greenwood-Praeger, 1987), South Carolina and the American Revolution: A Battlefield History (USC, 2003), and Dietro le line di Rommel: L’altra Guerra nel desert delle truppe special britanniche (Liberreria Editrice Gorziana, 2007). His chapter on General Thomas Holcomb, CMC, 1936-1943, appeared in Allan R. Millett and Jack Shulimson, eds., The Commandants of the Marine Corps (USNI, 2004), and articles on two War of Independence battles appeared in Frances Kennedy, ed., The Historical Atlas of the American Revolution (Oxford, 2014). His article, “Orde Wingate,” appeared in John Keegan, ed., Churchill’s Generals (Grove Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1990). Co-edited works are (with D. H. White, Jr) Proceedings of The Citadel Conference on War and Diplomacy, 1977 (The Citadel, 1979), and (with L. H. Addington, J. W. Moore, and D.H. White, Jr.) Selected Papers from The Citadel Conference on War and Diplomacy, 1978 (The Citadel, 1978).


Dr. Gordon earned his doctorate and master’s in history from Duke University, and his undergraduate degree in English from The Citadel. He received a diploma from the U. S. Army War College (Writing Award) via the CSC program, and graduated from the Marine Corps Command and Staff College Reserve Course.


At C&SC he has recently supported other organizations by participating in or conducting staff rides with, variously, Georgetown University’s security studies program, newly commissioned officers of the Royal Marines, the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group, Crisis Management Unit, and the Directorate for Strategic Plans. He serves as outside reader to review book-length manuscripts for university presses, such as the University of North Carolina and the University of South Carolina. He functioned as “U. S. reader” for a Marine officer earning a doctorate at the University of Gdansk via the Olmstead Program.


He is a member of the Rotary Club of Alexandria, VA.


Major Assignments

Dr. Gordon served on active duty in the U. S. Marine Corps from 1966 to 1969, to include service in Vietnam with the 3rd Marine Division, 1967-1968. He served until retirement in the Marine Corps Reserve, with assignments that included CO, 3/24; OIC IMA Det, MCRD PISC; Dir, MECEP Preparatory School, MCRD SDCA; as AC/S, 4th FSSG; and as AC/S, 2nd MEB. In 2nd MEB he was mobilized in support of DS/DS, deploying to Norway to conduct Exercise Battle Gryphon.


Selected Publications

Editor, The Breckinridge Papers: Selected Studies form the Marine Corps University (MCUP, 2016), Vol. I, No. 1.

A review essay of Sharon Tossi Lacey’s Pacific Blitzkrieg: World War II in the Central Pacific (University of North Texas, 2013) in the Marine Corps Gazette (2015).

An article on Sir John Keegan and his time in Charleston, SC, in the South Carolina Historical Society’s Carologue 28 (Spring 2013), No. 4.


Marine Corps University