Lieutenant Colonel Chris Courtney retired from the US Army in April 2010 and is currently a defense consultant. His final military assignment was as Chief Strategist for Joint Task Force North, where he served as a trainer for the Customs and Border Patrol plans division while also serving as the planning lead for a joint US-Mexico project to reduce violence in Ciudad Juarez.
Born and raised in Muncie, Indiana, Lieutenant Colonel Courtney graduated from the Army Officer Candidate School in 1989. He has served in a variety of assignments starting in Ansbach, Germany as platoon leader, executive officer and intelligence officer for an air defense battalion and combat aviation brigade. He next commanded an intelligence unit with responsibilities in the metropolitan New York area followed by a tour as an intelligence instructor and company commander at the US Army Intelligence Center and School. He then served as the Assistant Professor of Military Science at Northern Arizona University before returning to Germany to serve as the intelligence plans and operations officer for the 1st Infantry Division and adjutant for the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade.
In 2004, after graduating from the Military Academy at the ETH Zurich, Lieutenant Colonel Courtney was assigned to NATO Headquarters in Brussels Belgium. There he served as a policy planner at the US Delegation to NATO, negotiating NATO policies on command structure, general and flag officer positions, budget, and operations such as the Alliance’s support to the African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur. He then moved to the US Mission to the European Union (EU) where he served as Deputy Defense Advisor for the US Ambassador to the EU. During this time, he coordinated with EU officials to assist in the successful establishment of the EUPOL mission in Afghanistan as well as EU support to peacekeeping efforts in Sudan, Lebanon and Somalia. He also served as primary US interface with the European Defence Agency (EDA).
In 2007, Lieutenant Colonel Courtney was assigned as the Assistant Political Advisor for the commander of NATO’s Joint Forces Command (JFC) Naples where he advised a four star admiral on matters related to operations and NATO cooperation in Russia, Ukraine, the Caucasus, Africa and the Middle East to include counter-piracy missions off the Somalian coast.
In 2008, he was assigned as the Political Advisor to the commander of NATO Training Mission – Iraq (NTM-I) in Baghdad. There, he provided political and strategic communications advisement to the Commander and facilitated the expansion of the NTM-I mandate involving broader cooperation with the Government of Iraq.
In more than 21 years of service, 14 of them in Europe, Lieutenant Colonel Courtney provided political-military advice to US Ambassadors, senior commanders, US Government authorities in Washington, visiting US Government delegations, and represented the United States and NATO with foreign government officials regarding national and regional issues. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom (2007-2008), and Operation Enduring Freedom (2005), and served and traveled extensively on official business throughout Europe and Eurasia.
Lieutenant Colonel Courtney holds Masters in Leadership and Strategic Studies from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Ball State University. He is also a distinguished honor graduate of the NATO Defense College School and is proficient in German, French and Italian.