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Special Forces Berlin
by James Stejskal



Chris Miller

Colonel (Ret) Christopher Miller became a public figure almost overnight with his appointment by President Donald Trump on November 9, 2020 to be the Acting Secretary of Defense. Millier was a career Special Forces soldier serving as a detachment, company, and battalion commander in the 5th Special Forces Group.

Colonel (Ret) Chris Miller

Miller was apppointed by Trump after the firing of Defense Secretary Mark Esper. The tension between Esper and Trump had grown over the past several months leading up to the dismissal of the SECDEF.

Service Since Retirement From Army

Since his retirement from U.S. Army Special Forces in 2014 Miller has served in several capacities at senior levels within the intelligence and defense community.

After his military retirement he worked as a defense contractor providing clandestine Special Operations and Intelligence expertise directly to the Under Secretaries of Defense for Intelligence and Policy.

March 2018 - December 2019. Miller served as the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Counterterrorism and Transnational Threats at the National Security Council (NSC). He was responsible for strategic level policy making and implementation and support to senior NSC and White House leadership.

 January 2020 - August 2020. Miller served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Combating Terrorism.  The office is responsible for developing policy guidance and oversee the implementation of all DOD policies, strategies, and plans related to special operations and combating terrorism. Some of these responsiblities include the oversight of employment of SOF in CT, UW, DA, SR, FID, and counterproliferation. During this time he also performed the duties of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC).

August 2020 to November 2020. Miller served as the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center. The NCTC is aligned under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). The NCTC Director is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. He serves as the principal adviser on intelligence operations relating to counterterrorism and reports directly to the President for CT strategic operational planning activities.

Army Career

Chris Miller served in the military from 1983 to 2014. He began his military career as an enlisted infantryman in the Army Reserve in 1983 and also served in the District of Columbia National Guard as a Military Policeman. In 1987 he was commissioned as an Infantry Lieutenant through the R.O.T.C. while attending George Washington Unversity. In 1993 he transferred to Special Forces where he served in numerous command and staff positions.

Chris Miller participated in the initial combat operations in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom - OEF) in 2001 while serving as a company commander in the 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group. His company and SFODA's were deployed primarily in southern Afghanistan - Miller arrived in southern Afghanistan in December 2001.

Chris Miller in Afghanistan

He took part in the invasion of Iraq (Operations Iraqi Freedom - OIF) in 2003 - also while serving in the 5th Special Forces Group.

Miller had subsequent deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq to include commanding Special Operations Task Force - Central in Iraq in 2006-2007 while commanding 2nd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group battalion.

He also has extensive intergency and joint special operations experience. He spent part of the later part of his Special Forces career detailed to a U.S. intelligence organization. One of his last assignments was as Director for Special Operations and Irregular Warfare in SO/LIC.

Formal Education

In addition to being a graduate of Pineland University, Miller has a bachelor's degree in history from the George Washinton Univeristy (1987). He holds a Master of Arts degree in national security studies from the Naval War College (2001) and is a graduate of the Naval College of Command and Staff as well as the Army War College.


DoD. Biography of Christopher C. Miller, Acting Secretary of Defense.

NCTC. Biography of Chris Miller, Director, National Counterterrorism Center.
Accessed on November 10, 2020.

Questionnaire for Completion by Presidential Nominees, U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, United States Senate, June 5, 2020, PDF, 13 pages.

Christopher C. Miller, WikipediA

News Articles about Chris Miller

November 10, 2020. "What does the new acting SECDEF mean for the war in Afghanistan?", by Meghann Meyers, Military Times.

November 10, 2020. "The Special Forces Roots of Acting SECDEF Christopher Miller", by Stavros Atlamazoglou, SANDBOXX.

November 10, 2020. "New Acting SecDef is a Former 'Horse Soldier' Who Played Key Role in Afghanistan Invasion", by Hope Hodge Seck, Military.com.

November 9, 2020. "More Officials Leave Pentagon; Special Ops Office Gets Some Needed Help", Breaking Defense. Miller returns to the Pentagon to help fill a key special operations position.

November 10, 2002. "A Bulletproof Mind", The New York Times Magazine.

Published Works and Conversations by Chris Miller

October 19, 2020. "Special Forces needs to go back to basics to win against China and Russia", by Chris Miller and Doug Livermore, Task & Purpose.

October 8, 2020. "Online Event: A Conversation with NCTC Director Christopher Miller", Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). Miller is interviewed by Seth Jones in this 40 minute long video.




Books about Special Forces

Books about Special Forces


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