David Abshire has been a prominent international policy maker for more than 40 years. Currently, he is the president and CEO of the Center for the Study on the Presidency and vice chairman of the board and former CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He founded the Center in 1962 with Admiral Arleigh Burke and it has become a major international strategic planning and public policy organization.

He began his training in international studies as a platoon leader and company commander in Korea after graduating from West Point in 1951. After the army, he attended Georgetown and graduated with a Ph.D in History in 1959.

He began his work with the federal government as a congressional staffer from 1958 to 1960. He later went on to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations from 1970 to 1973 and chair of the Board for International Broadcasting from 1975 to 1977. His experience in other government agencies and commissions include the Murphy Commission, the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the President's Task Force on U.S. Government International Broadcasting and the National Security Group.

Perhaps his most influential public diplomacy post has been as U.S. Ambassador to NATO from 1983 to 1987. During this time, he was instrumental in the Soviets signing the INF Treaty and began the effort to strengthen NATO's conventional defenses and become less reliant on nuclear weapons. For this work he received the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the department's highest honor for a civilian. In 1987 he served as special counselor to President Ronald Reagan.

Abshire has been decorated by numerous heads of state and the United States military and is a member of many international leadership organizations. In 2003, he was named as a member of the Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim World, which studies the efficacy of public diplomacy efforts and makes recommendations to the President, Congress, and Secretary of State. He is also on the board of directors of the Ogden Corporation and trustee of the Richard Lounsbery Foundation. He has previously served of the boards of British Petroleum-America and the Proctor and Gamble Company.

David Abshire was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1926.

-from CSIS, Association of Graduates of West Point remarks to the U.S. Senate, and the Richard Lounsbery Foundation

Speeches and Statements on Public Diplomacy

  • "Some in Washington today refuse to recognize the distinction between short-term realism and long-term idealism, regularly employing crusading language about democracy and even advocating massive interventions to force democracy where it is not ready to bloom. An agile strategy would take this distinction seriously. . . ." -David M. Abshire, "U.S. Global Policy: Toward an Agile Strategy" The Washington Quarterly, Vol. 19, Issue 2 (Spring 1996)
  • "It is not enough to be a leader. It is necessary to be a leader informed by values. The President's cabinet and sub-cabinet can be instilled with the importance of leadership and values, just as these qualities are now taught at business schools, the military academies, and other centers of creative leadership." - David M. Abshire, Triumphs and Tragedies of the Modern Presidency
  • “Throughout a period of great flux in inter-allied and East-West relations, he was the source of an astonishing flow of imaginative and resourceful ideas geared to the resolution of difficult alliance issues. Ambassador Abshire's cogent and innovative proposals for enhancing NATO arms cooperation have already transformed that crucial area of alliance activities. Ever mindful of the central importance of parliamentary and public opinion, he worked tirelessly to build an effective and lasting partnership with Congress . . .�? -Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger
  • Public Diplomacy Programs - Testimony before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies of the House Appropriations Committee (February 4, 2004)

Publications & Articles

Further Reading

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