Tanham, George K(ilpatrick) 1922-2003

views updated

TANHAM, George K(ilpatrick) 1922-2003

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born February 23, 1922, in Englewood, NJ; died of congestive heart failure March 29, 2003, in VA. Educator, consultant, researcher, and author. Tanham was a trained historian who later became a consultant on military defense and third-world countries. After receiving his bachelor's from Princeton University in 1943, he served as a captain in the Seventh Armored Division, earning numerous medals for bravery, including the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, and two Silver Stars; the French government also gave him the Croix de Guerre avec Etoile d'Argent. He returned to America to earn his Ph.D. in history and political science from Stanford University, teaching military history as an associate professor at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena from 1947 to 1955. He then joined the RAND Corporation as a staff member, rising to the rank of vice president and trustee in 1971. From 1971 to 1982 he was senior researcher at RAND, and worked as a consultant in Washington, D.C., beginning in 1987. Tanham became a respected authority on counter-insurgency warfare and was a member of the U.S. Department of Defense task force in Vietnam in 1961. He also served as U.S. representative on the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization study on countersubversion in 1961 and 1969 and was a minister at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, from 1968 to 1970; the Thai government awarded him the Most Exalted Order of White Elephant for his work there. During the 1960s, Tanham became fascinated by India, and repeatedly made visits to that country. His interest in military strategy and third-world countries led to his writing several books, including War without Guns: American Civilians in Rural Vietnam (1966), Trial in Thailand (1974), Securing India: Strategic Thought and Practice (1996), and the cowritten work Islam and Conflict Resolution: Theories and Practices (1998).



Writers Directory, 18th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2003.


Hindu, April 9, 2003.

Washington Post, April 6, 2003, p. C10.