Michael S. Bell, Ph.D. (Colonel, USA, Ret.)

Chancellor, CISA


Dr. Michael S. Bell is the Chancellor of the College of International Security Affairs (CISA), one of the five colleges at the National Defense University (NDU). 

Following graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1983 and commissioning as an armor officer, Dr. Bell served with armor, cavalry, and mechanized infantry units in a variety of command and staff positions in Europe, the continental United States, and Southwest Asia. He commanded 1-8 Cavalry, taught history at the United States Military Academy, and served at the National War College as Dean of Faculty and Academic Programs. Other noteworthy military assignments include Aide de Camp to the Commanding General, 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm; Special Assistant to the Commanding General, U.S. Army Europe/Peace Stabilization Force; Futures Chief, III Corps G-3; and strategist in the Directorate of Strategic Plans and Policy (J5), the Joint Staff.

While in the Joint Staff J5, his major projects included: the National Military Strategy and National Defense Strategy; lead writer for the National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism; staff lead for the Joint Strategic Planning System; member of the Kuwait Strategic Review team; lead writer for Kuwait’s National Security and Defense Strategy, and lead writer for the National Military Strategy of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces. The Strategic Studies Institute published his monograph, The Exigencies of Global, Integrated Warfare: The Evolving Role of the CJCS and His Dedicated Staff.

Prior to returning to the National Defense University in 2009 as the Dean of the National War College, then Colonel Bell served as the Director of the Commanding General’s Initiatives Group at Multi-National Force-Iraq headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, and subsequently, at headquarters, U.S. Central Command. 

Dr. Bell holds a MA and a PhD in History from the University of Maryland at College Park, a MS in National Security Strategy from NDU, and is a Distinguished Graduate of the National War College. Dr. Bell retired from the US Army in 2012. His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star, the combat action badge, and the Joint Staff identification badge.