David B. Crist is a visiting fellow at The Washington Institute, documenting thirty years of U.S.-Iranian conflict in the Persian Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan for a forthcoming book (spring 2011). He is currently on a leave of absence from the Department of Defense, where he serves as a senior historian for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dr. Crist has written and spoken extensively on contemporary military history and has produced numerous studies for the U.S. government examining current operations in Iraq and the Persian Gulf. He is author of the 2009 Washington Institute Policy Focus Gulf of Conflict: A History of U.S.-Iranian Confrontation at Sea and of a 2008 New York Times op-ed on altercations between Iranian small boats and the U.S. Navy.
A lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Dr. Crist served with a light armored reconnaissance battalion during Operation Desert Storm and, after 2001, with Special Operations Forces in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Most recently, he served three years with U.S. Special Operations Command. He is currently assigned to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas Security Affairs.
Education: Ph.D. and M.A., Florida State University; B.A., University of Virginia.