U.S. Army War College Fellow, Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies
Lieutenant Colonel John D. Litchfield’s twenty-eight years of combined enlisted and commissioned service in the US Army has spanned a wide range of both conventional and special operations missions, and includes several joint, interagency, combined and allied assignments. He has led special operations missions across five continents and in sixteen countries, often in politically sensitive, unstable or hostile environments.
As a company grade officer, Lieutenant Colonel Litchfield served as an infantry company executive officer, rifle platoon leader and battalion support platoon leader with the United Nations Security Battalion in the Joint Security Area of the Korean demilitarized zone, with 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry in Camp Greaves, Korea, and later with 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment in Ft. Lewis, Washington. After attending special forces training, he went on to serve as a detachment commander in 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group in Ft Bragg, North Carolina. During these company grade assignments, he led elements in cease-fire enforcement operations inside the Korean demilitarized zone; foreign internal defense, counter drug, special reconnaissance, and crisis response operations in South America; support to homeland security in the United States; and unconventional warfare and counterinsurgency in Afghanistan. His most formative experience occurred in Afghanistan, where his special forces detachment led and sustained a battalion-sized force of Afghan army and tribal irregulars fighting for control of a remote Taliban dominated region.
As a field grade officer, Lieutenant Colonel Litchfield served in a special mission unit and an interagency assignment, before becoming a company commander and later executive officer in 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group in Okinawa, Japan. During these assignments he participated in intelligence and counterterrorism operations in Iraq and Afghanistan; disaster relief in Japan; and foreign internal defense across south and southeast Asia, including a year-long effort to build a partner counterterrorism capability in Nepal. Later he served as the aide-de-camp for the commanding general of a US task force conducting detention operations and support to the rule of law in Afghanistan. Most recently he was assigned as a plans officer and strategist for NATO Special Operations Headquarters in Mons, Belgium. During this NATO assignment, he served as the director of the Special Operations Forces Fusion Cell in Afghanistan, providing multinational intelligence support for allied and coalition special operations and Afghan Ministry of Interior law enforcement investigations and high-risk arrests. Finally, he led the initial NATO special operations command and control element supporting maritime security efforts in the Mediterranean Sea, focused on engagement with key North African partners.
Lieutenant Colonel Litchfield is a native of Oklahoma and graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He received his commission through Army Officer Candidate School in Ft. Benning, Georgia. He holds a Masters of Arts in National Defense and Strategic Studies from the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, as well as a Masters in Military Arts from the US Army Command and Staff College in Leavenworth, Kansas. He is a graduate of the Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies in Leavenworth, Kansas and the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia.
Lieutenant Colonel Litchfield’s military decorations include five Campaign Medals and four Bronze Stars, including one for valor. He is a Combat Infantryman, a Master Parachutist, an Army Ranger and a Special Forces “Green Beret”.
Lieutenant Colonel Litchfield is married to the former Miss Lorely Nocua of Cucuta, Colombia and they have four children, Roger, Saray, Dominique, and Mikhael, as well as three grandchildren Audrianna, Catalaya, and Cassidy.