Current Position: Infantry Company Executive Officer, 82nd Airborne Division, United States Army
Past: Platoon Leader, 82nd Airborne Division, United States Army
Education: Virginia Military Institute
Chris Barefoot, a First Lieutenant and Infantry Company Executive Officer in the United States Army, participated in the inaugural class of the War Studies Program. After graduating from the Virginia Military Institute in 2014, he commissioned as an Infantry Officer in the Army and soon went on to lead an Infantry Platoon in the 82nd Airborne division.
HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT THE HERTOG FOUNDATION? WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO APPLY?
My academic advisor and mentor, Brigadier General (retired) Charles F. Brower IV, heard about ISW’s first ever Hertog War Studies Program through Dr. Kim Kagan, and strongly encouraged me to apply. His recommendation would have been reason enough, but after I read over the program’s curriculum, I recognized immediately that it had the potential to be a key educational opportunity in my career.
TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATH. HOW DOES HERTOG FIT INTO YOUR PROFESSIONAL GOALS?
I commissioned as an Infantry Officer in the Army in the spring of 2014. I’ve had the privilege of seeing a lot of new places across the country and around the world by jumping out of a C-17 with some of our nation’s best.
The Hertog War Studies Program allowed me to access some of the greatest military leadership of our generation in a small-group setting prior to my commissioning. The curriculum delved deeply into a subject matter usually taught only to officers far beyond my current grade and experience level. I would say it placed me far beyond my peers in terms of knowledge of the nature of warfare, civil-military relations, and technology’s role in shaping conflict, just to name a few. It was a game-changer.
WHAT STICKS OUT IN YOUR MEMORY ABOUT YOUR EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE WITH HERTOG PROGRAMS?
It was without a doubt the most influential and beneficial learning experience I’ve had thus far, despite the fact that it was only two weeks long. It continues to shape the way I view warfare and combat leadership in general; I still have my workbook and look over my notes frequently. The other participants were brilliant, and the level of instruction was exemplary. My only regret is that I’ve not been able to experience anything like it since.
DO YOU THINK HERTOG PROGRAMS ARE BENEFICIAL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN MILITARY SERVICE?
I consider it to have been central to my personal and professional development. As an aspiring member of the Armed Services, there simply is no better way to spend two weeks. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS? IN A SIMILAR JOB, OR EMBARKING ON SOMETHING DIFFERENT?
For the time being, I plan to stay in the Army for as long as I have the privilege of doing so. In any event, I will stay as active in the Hertog community.