Charles Moskos, RIP

James Fallows passes on the said news that Charlie Moskos, the preeminent military sociologist of his era, died yesterday at the age of 74.

Charles Moskos Photo The email from his wife of 41 years, Ilca, began: “Charles C. Moskos, of Santa Monica, Calif, formerly of Evanston, Ill, draftee of U.S. Army, died peacefully in his sleep after a valiant struggle with cancer.” That sentence is a kind poetry, evoking whole aspects of his life in a few words.

Phil Carter has an excellent tribute. Some highlights:

Charlie was an intellectual giant whose ideas about military manpower and public service influenced two generations of soldiers, scholars, politicians and policy wonks. He will long be remembered for his role in conceiving the “don’t ask/don’t tell” compromise concept during the pitched battle over gays in the military. But if you do a literature review, you’ll find that his influence was far broader and deeper than that.


Despite his success and notoriety, Charlie remained a patriotic, humble man who deeply believed in the virtue of public service for its own sake. He frequently lunched with four-star generals and members of Congress, but never let that swell his head.

I had the pleasure of corresponding with him a few years ago when I was working in the publishing industry in regards to a book project that ultimately never came to fruition and subsequently met him at the biannual Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society. He was a kind and gracious man who exemplified the phrase “a gentleman and a scholar.”

He will be missed.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Education, LGBTQ Issues, Military Affairs, Obituaries, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    I sat in on one of his classes at Northwestern many years ago. Interesting guy.