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Crowe, William

Crowe, William (1925– ), career naval officer and eleventh chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.Crowe is a Naval Academy graduate (1947), a Stanford M.A. (1956), and a Princeton Ph.D. (1965). He pursued an unusual naval career path by combining political‐military assignments with command. Crowe rose through the ranks to become Commander in Chief of Pacific Command (1983). He became the first chairman to serve under the Goldwater‐Nichols Act (1986), which made the chairman the nation's principal military adviser and mandated increased cooperation among the armed services. Crowe's career spanned major events of the Cold War, and as chairman his principal contribution was to aid in decreasing American‐Soviet rivalry at the end of the Cold War.

Following the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (1987), he developed on his own initiative military‐to‐military agreements and exchanges with his Soviet counterpart. In the Middle East, Crowe oversaw America's military responses to the hijacking of the cruise liner Achille Lauro by Palestinian terrorists (1985), hostilities with Libya (1986), the reflagging and escorting of Kuwaiti tankers in the Persian Gulf (1987), and the shootdown of an Iranian civilian airliner by the USS Vincennes (1988). After retirement, Crowe encouraged a cautious approach in dealing with Iraq's invasion of Kuwait (1990) and endorsed Bill Clinton for president (1992). He was named ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1994 and retired from that position in 1997.


William J. Crowe, Jr., with and David Chanoff , The Line of Fire: From Washington to the Gulf, the Politics and Battles of the New Military, 1993.

Richard S. Rauschkolb

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