George K. Tanham (1922-2003), an expert on South Asia, Southeast Asia, and national security policies, was born in Tenafly, New Jersey. He received an undergraduate degree from Princeton University and a doctorate in history and political science from Stanford University. During World War II, Tanham served as an artillery officer in Europe. He won two Silver Stars, a Purple Heart, and an Air Medal.
Tanham taught military history at the California Institute of Technology. In 1954, he was hired as a consultant for the RAND Corporation. A year later, Tanham was a fulltime RAND employee. In 1957, he moved to Washington, DC, where he rose the ranks of the RAND Corporation. He retired in 1987.
Aside from working for RAND, Tanham worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development as associate director for counterinsurgency in Vietnam from 1964 to 1965. He also served as a special assistant for counterinsurgency to the Ambassador to Thailand from 1968 to 1970.
Tanham published several books, including "Communist Revolutionary Warfare: The Vietminh in Indochina" (1961), "War Without Guns: American Civilians in Rural Vietnam" (1966), "Trial in Thailand" (1974), "Countering Covert Aggression" (1986), "Who Will Win? A Key to the Puzzle of Revolutionary War" (1989), "Indian Strategic Thought: An Interpretive Essay" (1992), "Indian Air Force: Trends and Prospects" (1995), and "Islam and Conflict Resolution: Theories and Practices" (1998).
George K. Tanham died on March 29, 2003.
[Source: Obituary in "Washington Post," 4/6/2003].