Rufus Phillips was born in Middletown, Ohio on August 10, 1929 and raised in rural Virginia.
He was educated at Yale and was a young C.I.A.
Officer in Saigon in the 1950s. Phillips was a protégé of General Edward Lansdale and participated in the 1962 Research and Development Counterinsurgency Symposium alongside other counterinsurgency experts such as David Galula and Frank Kitson. In Vietnam, Phillips was one af the architects of the Chieu Hoi program to persuade Vietcong fighters to defect.
Phillips is the author of Why Vietnam Matters: An Eyewitness Account of Lessons Not Learned.
He is a regular guest on The John Batchelor Show and discusses topics on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.