Francis J. "Bing" West is an American author and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs during the Reagan Administration. His 2004 book The March Up: Taking Baghdad with the First Marine Division, written with United States Marine Corps General Ray L. Smith, received the 2004 William E. Colby Award, as well as the 2004 General Wallace M. Greene, Jr. Award given by the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation for "distinguished non-fiction dealing with U.S. Marines or Marine Corps life."
West writes about the military, warfighting, and counterinsurgency. In the Vietnam War, he fought in major operations and conducted over a hundred combat patrols in 1966-68. For the United States Marine Corps, he wrote the training manual Small Unit Action in Vietnam, describing how to fight in close combat. As an analyst at the RAND Corporation, he wrote a half dozen detailed monographs about fighting against an insurgency. Later, as Assistant Secretary of Defense, he dealt with the insurgencies in El Salvador. From 2003 through 2008, he made 16 extended trips to Iraq, going on patrols and writing three books and numerous articles about the war.