Abshire, David M. 1926-

views updated

Abshire, David M. 1926-


Born April 11, 1926, in Chattanooga, TN; son of James Ernest (a businessman) and Edith Abshire; married Carolyn Lamar Sample, September 7, 1957; children: Lupton, Anna Lamar Bowman, Mary Lee, Phyllis d'Hoop, Caroline. Education: U.S. Military Academy, B.S., 1951; Georgetown University, Ph.D. (with honors), 1959. Politics: Republican. Religion: Episcopalian.


Home—Alexandria, VA. Office—Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1800 K St., Washington, DC 20006.


U.S. Army, cadet, 1946-51, regular officer, 1951-55, served as platoon leader, intelligence officer, and company commander, retired as first lieutenant, became captain, U.S. Army Reserve; U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC, member of staff, 1959-60; American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Washington, DC, director of special projects, 1961-62; Georgetown University, Washington, DC, Center for Strategic and International Studies, cofounder, 1962, executive director, 1962-70, chairman, 1973-82, adjunct professor in School of Foreign Service; U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, assistant secretary of state for congressional relations, 1970-73. Member of Congressional Committee on Organization of the Government for the Conduct of Foreign Policy, 1974-76; chairman of the U.S. Board for International Broadcasting, 1974-77; director of National Security Group (including Department of State, Department of Defense, and Central Intelligence Agency), 1979-80; member of President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board; member of advisory board on Long-Range Planning for Chief of Naval Operations; member of Council on Foreign Relations; Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC, chairman, 1973-83, president, beginning 1987, vice chairman of board, founder, Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy, 2002; Center for the Study of the Presidency, Washington, DC, president, 2002—; Richard Lounsbery Foundation, Washington, DC, president, 2002—; special counselor to the President (with cabinet rank), 1987; ambassador, U.S. Permanent Representative on the North Atlantic Council (NATO), in Brussels and Belgium, 1983-87; member of President's Task Force on U.S. Government International Broadcasting, 1991—; advisory board member, BP America (Cleveland). Director, Ogden Corp. (New York, NY), and Procter & Gamble (Cincinnati, OH). Former member of Board of National Park Foundation and board of Naval War College; trustee of Baylor Preparatory School (Chattanooga, TN); former vice chairman of board of Youth for Understanding; former consultant to Reader's Digest and to American International Group, Inc.


International Club (Washington, DC; member of board), Alfalfa Club (Washington, DC), Metropolitan Club (Washington, DC), Alibi Club (Washington, DC), Cosmos Club (Washington, DC), Phi Alpha Theta, Key Society.


Military—Bronze Star Medal (twice), Commendation Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge (all for service in Korea). Defense Department Distinguished Public Service Medal, Georgetown University John Carroll Award for outstanding service by an alumnus, Gold Medal of the Sons of the American Revolution, Baylor Distinguished Alumni Award, Order of the Crown (Belgium), Medal of the President of the Italian Republic, Senate, Parliament and Government, and also of the Pio Manu Centre (Italy), Commandre de l'Ordre Leopold (Belgium), President's Civilian Service Award, 1989; honorary degrees include Doctor of Humane Letters from Virginia Theological Seminary, 1992, Doctor of Civil Law, honoris causa, from University of the South, 1994, and Doctor of Letters from Washington College, 2006.


(Editor, with Richard Allen) National Security: Political, Military, and Economic Strategies in the Decade Ahead, Praeger (Westport, CT), 1963.

(Contributor) Detente: Cold War Strategies in Transition, Praeger (Westport, CT), 1965.

The South Rejects a Prophet: The Life of Senator D.M. Key, 1824-1900, Praeger (Westport, CT), 1967.

(Editor, with M. Samuels) Portuguese Africa: A Handbook, Praeger (Westport, CT), 1969.

Conference on the Plans and Needs for International Strategic Studies, Washington, DC, 1969.

Research Resources for the '70s; Proceedings, Georgetown University (Washington, DC), 1971.

International Broadcasting: A New Dimension of Western Diplomacy, Sage Publications (Thousand Oaks, CA), 1976.

Foreign Policy Makers: President vs. Congress, Sage Publications (Thousand Oaks, CA), 1979.

(Contributor) Dante B. Fascell, editor, International News: Freedom under Attack, Sage Publications (Thousand Oaks, CA), 1979.

(Editor) The Growing Power of Congress, Sage Publications (Thousand Oaks, CA), 1981.

Preventing World War III: A Realistic Grand Strategy, Harper (New York, NY), 1989.

(Coauthor) Defense Economics for the 1990's: Resources, Strategies, and Options, Potomac Foundation (Vienna, VA), 1989.

(With Richard R. Burt and R. James Woolsey) The Atlantic Alliance Transformed, Center for Strategic and International Studies (Washington, DC), 1992.

(Contributor) The New Promise of American Life, Hudson Institute (Washington, DC), 1995.

Putting America's House in Order: The Nation as a Family, Praeger (Westport, CT), 1996.

Triumphs and Tragedies of the Modern Presidency: Seventy-six Case Studies in Presidential Leadership, Praeger (Westport, CT), 2001.

Saving the Reagan Presidency: Trust Is the Coin of the Realm, Texas A&M University Press (College Station, TX), 2005.

A Call to Greatness: Challenging Our Next President, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 2007.

Also editor of The Growing Power of Congress. Contributor to the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science and to U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings. Editor of proceedings of Conference on Plans and Needs for International Strategic Studies, 1969. Contributor of articles to magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals, including the New York Times, Times (London, England), Reader's Digest, and American Political Science Review. Founder and editor, Washington Quarterly: A Journal of Strategic and International Studies.


David M. Abshire is a veteran of civil service, including a stint as assistant secretary of state under Richard Nixon and head of the National Security Group under Ronald Reagan. Later during the Reagan administration, he served as ambassador to NATO, where his actions helped bring about Soviet acquiescence to the INF (Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces) treaty, along with a new defense strategy in Europe that helped reduce a potential nuclear confrontation. Still later, Abshire was invited by President Reagan to coordinate administration cooperation with the Iran-Contra investigation. For some years, he has been at the head of both the Center for the Study of the Presidency and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

In Saving the Reagan Presidency: Trust Is the Coin of the Realm, Abshire tells the story of the way the administration dealt with the revelation that its representatives had sold weapons to the Iranian revolutionary government in exchange for the release of American hostages, and had then used the money to support the rightist Contra rebellion in Nicaragua. Abshire's role in managing the administration's response to the Congressional investigation of Iran-Contra saved the Reagan administration, declared Brandon Rottinghaus in the Political Science Quarterly. "The book presents compelling historical value that contributes to the practical value of the book," Rottinghaus stated. "He concludes that President Reagan was unable to control his White House and presented a ‘mystifying unevenness’ … but that his intention in the Iran-Contra debacle was never devious and never aimed at deceiving the American public." "All second-term presidents," Rottinghaus concluded, "should heed his battle-tested advice."



Internet Wire, March 14, 2006, "‘In Scandal or Crisis … Pauper, Prince, President or Pope, Character Is the Rock of the Realm’; Cincom's Expert Access Interviews Dr. David M. Abshire, Author of ‘Saving the Reagan Presidency’,"; March 16, 2006, "Cincom's Expert Access—‘In Scandal or Crisis … Character Is the Rock of the Realm’; An Interview with Dr. David M. Abshire, Author of ‘Saving the Reagan Presidency’."

New Leader, March 20, 1989, Barry Gewen, review of Preventing World War III: A Realistic Grand Strategy, p. 18.

Political Science Quarterly, summer, 2006, Brandon Rottinghaus, review of Saving the Reagan Presidency: Trust Is the Coin of the Realm, p. 343.

Publishers Weekly, March 25, 1996, review of Putting America's House in Order: The Nation as a Family, p. 75.


Center for Strategic & International Studies Web site,http://www.csis.org/ (April 8, 2008), "David M. Abshire."

Center for Study of the Presidency Web site,http://thepresidency.org/ (April 8, 2008), "David M. Abshire, Ph.D., President and CEO."

Richard Lounsbery Foundation Web site,http://rlounsbery.org/ (April 8, 2008), "David M. Abshire."