Michael S. Bell, PhD (COL, USA, Ret.) is the Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of War and Democracy. Commissioned in Armor following graduation from West Point, he is a combat veteran, historian, and strategist who has served at every level from platoon through theater army, as well as with US Central Command, the Joint Staff, the West Point faculty, and the National Defense University. As a civilian faculty member at the National Defense University, he also served details to the Office of the Secretary of State and as a National Security Council Senior Director and Special Assistant to the President. He holds a MA and a PhD in American History from the University of Maryland at College Park and a M.S. in National Security Strategy from the National Defense University, where he was distinguished graduate of the National War College. His monograph on the role of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was published by the Strategic Studies Institute. His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, two awards of the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star, Joint Civilian Service Commendation Award, Joint Staff Badge, and Combat Action Badge.