David M. Abshire

Cofounder & President Emeritus

The late David M. Abshire was vice chairman and counselor of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress and president of the Richard Lounsbery Foundation of New York until his death in 2014. He cofounded CSIS in 1962, serving as its chief executive for many years. He cofounded the CSIS Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy in 2002 with Kazuo Inamori. He was a distinguished graduate of Baylor Preparatory School and served as a trustee there for six years. Dr. Abshire was a graduate of West Point, and he received its Distinguished Graduate Award in 1966. He served in the Korean War and was decorated with several honors for his service. He subsequently served as an instructor at the Infantry School in Georgia. Dr. Abshire received a Ph.D., with honors (Gold Key Society), in history from Georgetown University, where he also served as an adjunct professor at its School of Foreign Service. In 2006, he received an honorary doctorate from the university, as well as three additional honorary degrees from other institutions. His government service included assistant secretary of state for congressional relations (1970–1973), head of the National Security Group under President Ronald Reagan (1980), U.S. ambassador to NATO (1983–1987), and special counsellor to President Reagan (1987). As ambassador to NATO, he was given the highest Defense Department civilian award, the Distinguished Public Service Medal. Dr. Abshire was also awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal and received numerous other awards, including the John Carroll Award for outstanding service by a Georgetown University alumnus. He served as the first chairman of the Board for International Broadcasting. Dr. Abshire also served as a member of the Murphy Commission on the Organization of the Government, the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the President’s Task Force on U.S. Governmental International Broadcasting, as one of the coconvenors of the 2006 congressionally mandated Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group, the Advisory Board of the Naval War College, the Executive Panel of the Chief of Naval Operations, the congressionally mandated Advisory Group for Public Diplomacy, and chair of a panel for the Homeland Security Advisory Board. In the corporate world, from 1987 to 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. He was decorated by seven heads of government and was the author of seven books, a contributing editor and primary author of several other works, and a founding editor of The Washington Quarterly. Dr. Abshire was a vice chair of the Council of American Ambassadors and served on the Advisory Board of the School of Public Service at St. Albans School and as a trustee of the George C. Marshall Foundation. He was a member of the Council on Competitiveness, Council on Foreign Relations, Fondation Paul-Henri Spaak (Brussels), International Institute for Strategic Studies (London), Alfalfa Club, Alibi Club, Cosmos Club, Metropolitan Club, and an honorary member of the University Club. He also was the coconvenor and a founding member of the Trinity National Leadership Roundtable.