Thomas P. Christie is a career defense analyst who worked for the U.S. government.
Christie graduated from Spring Hill College with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and from New York University with a master's degree in applied mathematics. In the 1960s, he worked for the United States Air Force at Eglin AFB as an analyst in the Ballistics Division at the Air Proving Ground Center. He later moved to other positions at Eglin AFB, before moving to the Pentagon.
Christie worked at the Pentagon for more than three decades beginning in the early 1970s. Over the course of his career he served as director, Program Integration, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition) where he was responsible for developing processes for managing the defense acquisition system. He also served in two separate positions in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Program Analysis and Evaluation) first as director, Tactical Air Division, and then deputy assistant secretary of Defense/deputy director (General Purpose Programs).
Christie served for nine years as director of the operational evaluation division (OED) at the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federally funded research and development center. Christie was responsible for independent analyses of more than two hundred major test and evaluation programs and was also involved in weapons testing.
Christie became director of Operational Test and Evaluation in June 2001. In this capacity, he served as the principal staff assistant and primary advisor to the Secretary of Defense on testing of Department of Defense weapon systems. His responsibilities included prescribing policies and procedures for the conduct of operational test and evaluation, live-fire testing and evaluation, the composition and operations of the major range and test facility base, and the configuration of the test and evaluation infrastructure within the Pentagon. He retired from this position in 2005.
Christie is often associated with John Boyd and other associates of Boyd who were critical of U.S. defense policies. While working with Boyd at Eglin AFB, Christie was deeply involved with the development of the Energy-Maneuverability theory of aerial combat. The work on this theory was not officially sanctioned and Christie and Boyd resorted to "stealing" computer time to compare the performance of U.S. and Soviet military aircraft which resulted in the publication of a two volume report in 1964. Despite the manner in which the Energy-Maneuverability theory was developed, it was accepted by the U.S. military and influenced the design of the successful F-15, F-16 and F-18 fighters.
Over the years, Christie has received numerous awards and citations including the Presidential Rank, Distinguished Executive Award (1983); the Presidential Rank, Meritorious Executive Award (two awards - 1980 and 1987); the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award (four awards – 1979, 1981, 1983, and 1989); and the Air Force Scientific Achievement Award (two awards – 1965 and 1970).