In Memoriam: C. Bernard Barfoot (1933-2016)
C. Bernard “Bernie” Barfoot of Alexandria, Va., a mathematician and research department director at the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA), died Dec. 22, 2016, at the age of 83.
Mr. Barfoot was a member of the Operations Research Society of America (a forerunner of INFORMS), serving as associate editor of its technical journal, Operations Research, and session chairman at several national and international conferences on operations research. He authored numerous CNA research reports, as well as technical papers published in Operations Research, Naval Logistics Research Quarterly and in the proceedings of technical conferences. He was a recognized authority on stochastic duel models of combat.
Mr. Barfoot graduated from Tulane University in 1955 with a bachelor of science in mathematics and was commissioned in the U.S. Navy on the same day. He served as a division officer aboard an aircraft carrier and later as an officer instructor in the Mathematics Department of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.
After returning to civilian life in 1959, Mr. Barfoot graduated from the University of Alabama with a master of arts in mathematics and was awarded membership in Pi Mu Epsilon, the national mathematics honor society.
For 33 years – from 1966 until his retirement in 1999 – Mr. Barfoot worked for the CNA, the Navy’s non-profit think tank in Alexandria. He directed a wide variety of projects for Navy and Marine Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C., including amphibious warfare requirements, economic analyses of aircraft and ships, fleet concepts of operations, Army and Marine Corps power projection capabilities, and evaluation of war plans.
Through CNA’s program to provide continuous onsite analytic support, he served on Marine and Navy command staffs in Honolulu; Yokosuka, Japan; and London. He also led a team of CNA analysts on a short-term assignment at the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force in Danang, Vietnam.
Mr. Barfoot received a CNA fellowship for a year of full-time graduate study at George Washington University, earning a master of science in operations research. His thesis, “Markov Duels,” was published in a peer-reviewed journal and received an award from the Washington Operations Research Council.
Mr. Barfoot was a member of Christ the Saviour Anglican Church, Mount Vernon, serving as a vestryman, senior warden and choir member. His hobbies included photography, genealogy, writing letters to the editor and musical performance. For many years he was a clarinetist in various bands.
A native of Gadsden, Ala., Mr. Barfoot is survived by his wife of 61 years, Martha Oliver Barfoot of Alexandria, his daughter, the Reverend Canon Dr. Alison L. Barfoot of Kampala, Uganda, and a sister and niece in Oregon.