A fireside chat with Dr. David M. Abshire, former Ambassador to NATO, President of the Center for the Study of the Presidency (CSP) in Washington, D.C. and President of the Richard Lounsbery Foundation of New York will be held on campus Wednesday, April 2 at noon in the University Center Auditorium. Tom Griscom, Publisher and Executive Editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, will provide the introduction for Abshire.
There will be a reception following in the Chattanooga Rooms.
Complimentary parking will be available in the 5th Street Parking Garage. As visitors exit the garage, they should tell the parking attendant they attended the seminar.
Abshire has just written his seventh book A Call to Greatness: Challenging Our Next President, which has been published early this year by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. The book examines how the next U.S. president can learn from the successes and failures of past presidents to be an effective leader during a time of tremendous challenges at home and abroad. While in draft form it was circulated among all principle U.S. presidential candidates.
Abshire is Vice Chairman of the Board of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., which he co-founded with Admiral Arleigh Burke in 1962, and served as its chief executive for many years. In 2002, he led in the establishment of the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy at CSIS.
In 1951, Abshire graduated from West Point, and later received his doctorate with Honors (Gold Key Society) in History from Georgetown University. For many years he was an adjunct professor at its School of Foreign Service, and initially, CSIS was affiliated with the university. Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Abshire graduated from Baylor Preparatory School in 1944, and subsequently for six years served as a Trustee.
In the Korean War, he served as a platoon leader, company commander, and a division intelligence officer. He received the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster with V for Valor, Commendation Ribbon with medal pendant, and Combat Infantry Badge. He received a Doctor of Humane Letters from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1992, a Doctor of Civil Law, honoris causa, from the University of the South in 1994, and a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from Georgetown University and Washington College in 2006.
Abshire served as Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations from 1970-1973 and later as the first Chairman of the U.S. Board of International Broadcasting.
He was a member of the Murphy Commission on the Organization of the Government, the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, and the President’s Task Force on U.S. Government International Broadcasting. During the transition of government in 1980,
President-elect Reagan asked Abshire to head the National Security Group, which included the State and Defense Departments, the U.S. Information Agency, and the Central Intelligence Agency. He has also served on the Advisory Board of the Naval War College and on the Executive Panel of the Chief of Naval Operations.
More recently in 1983-1987, he was Ambassador to NATO where, in reaction to the threat posed by Soviet SS-20 missiles, he was the United States point man in Europe for deployment of Pershing and Cruise missiles. It was this NATO success that convinced the Soviets to sign the historic INF Treaty and withdraw their missiles. Ambassador Abshire initiated a new conventional defense improvement effort so that NATO would not have to rely heavily on nuclear weapons. For this, he was given the highest Defense Department civilian award—the Distinguished Public Service Medal.
In December 1986, at the depths of the Iran-Contra crisis, he was called by President Reagan to leave NATO to serve in the Cabinet, as Special Counselor, and help restore confidence in the Presidency. He dealt with the Tower Board, the Independent Counsel, and the Congressional investigation committees, and often met with the President alone.
Abshire is a vice chair of the Council of American Ambassadors, a member of the Advisory Board of the School of Public Service at St. Albans School, a trustee of the George C. Marshall Foundation, a member of the Council on Competitiveness, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Fondation Paul-Henri Spaak (Brussels), and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (London). He also is the co-convenor and a founding member of the Trinity National Leadership Roundtable. In 2003, he served on the Advisory Group for Public Diplomacy mandated by Congress. In 2005, he chaired a panel for the Homeland Security Advisory Board for developing for the maritime domain a layered defense against weapons of mass effect.
In the corporate world, from 1987-1996, he has served on the Board of Procter and Gamble Company and was the first chairman of its Public Policy Committee. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Ogden Corporation and on the Advisory Board of BP America.
Many honors have been bestowed upon Abshire. He has received the John Carroll Award for outstanding service by a Georgetown University alumnus; the Distinguished Graduate Award of the United States Military Academy; the 1994 U.S. Military Academy’s Castle Award; the Gold Medal of the Sons of the American Revolution; the Order of the Crown (Belgium); Commander de l’Ordre de Leopold (Belgium); the Medal of the President of the Italian Republic, Senate, Parliament and Government; Grand Official of the Order of the Republic of Italy; Order of Diplomatic Service Merit Heung-In Medal (Korea); the insignia of the Commander, First Class, Order of the Lion of Finland; in 1999 the Order of the Liberator (Argentina); and in May 2001, the Order of the Sacred Treasure Gold and Silver Star (Japan). In addition to the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, he was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal.
Abshire is the author of six additional books: The South Rejects a Prophet, 1967; International Broadcasting: A New Dimension of Western Diplomacy, 1976; Foreign Policy Makers: President vs. Congress, 1979; Preventing World War III: A Realistic Grand Strategy, 1988; Putting America’s House in Order: The Nation as a Family, with Brock Brower and Saving the Reagan Presidency: Trust Is the Coin of the Realm, 2005. He also wrote an essay for the Fetzer Institute’s “Deepening the American Dream” series titled The Grace and Power of Civility: Commitment and Tolerance in the American Tradition, Jossey-Bass: 2004. He is editor of Triumphs and Tragedies of the Modern Presidency: Seventy-Six Case Studies on Presidential Leadership, 2002, and author of CSP publications: The Character of George Washington, 1999; and Lessons For The 21st Century: Vulnerability and Surprise December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001; and The Character of George Marshall.
He is contributing editor to Vietnam Legacy, 1976; Détente: Cold War Strategies in Transition, 1964; and The Global Economy, 1990. He has also co-edited National Security, 1963 and edited The Growing Power of Congress, 1981. He is founding editor of The Washington Quarterly.
Abshire is a member of the Alfalfa Club, Alibi Club, Cosmos Club, Metropolitan Club, and an honorary member of the University Club. Additionally, he was a co-chair of the New York Opera Ball, which honored Argentina.
He is married to the former Carolyn Sample. The Abshires have five children.