CSIS Mourns the Death of Co-Founder David M. Abshire

WASHINGTON, October 31, 2014 – The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) mourns the death of its president emeritus and co-founder David M. Abshire. Dr. Abshire established CSIS in 1962 along with Admiral Arleigh Burke, and was vice chairman of its board prior to his death. He served in a number of positions in the U.S. government, including as U.S. ambassador to NATO, Assistant Secretary of State, and as a Special Counselor under President Reagan.

“Dave Abshire practically invented the modern think tank by establishing CSIS back in 1962,” said CSIS President & CEO John Hamre.  “Dave sought to harness the intellectual energies of the university to the practical policy problems of governing.  He invented a dynamic model that exists to this day.  It is a lasting legacy of a great man.”

Dr. Abshire served his country with distinction, in government as well as the armed forces. A graduate of West Point, Dr. Abshire served in the Korean War and was decorated with several honors for his service. His government work included posts as assistant secretary of state for congressional relations, head of the National Security Group under President Ronald Reagan, U.S. ambassador to NATO, and special counsellor to President Reagan. He was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Public Service by the Department of Defense, its highest honor, and was also a recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal.

Dr. Abshire is credited with guiding CSIS from its beginnings at Georgetown University to its status as an independent, bipartisan institution. In 2002, along with Kazuo Inamori, he established the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy to provide education and training programs for young professionals. Prior to his passing, Dr. Abshire was vice chairman and counselor at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (CSPC) and president of the Richard Lounsbery Foundation of New York.

“David Abshire represents the very best America has to offer,” said former Senator Sam Nunn, chairman of the CSIS Board of Trustees. “He emerged out of a Depression-era childhood in Tennessee to attend West Point.  He fought for his country in Korea.  He came home and dedicated his life to public service inside and outside of government.  As a military man, a family man, a diplomat and public servant, a devoted patriot always striving to improve America's security and economy -- and as a founder of CSIS, David Abshire left an indelible imprint on America.  He will be deeply missed by all of us who were blessed by his friendship and his leadership.  Our hearts go out to his wonderful wife, Carolyn, and all of the Abshire family.”