David M. Abshire

President & CEO

Center for the Study of the Presidency, Center for Strategic and International Studies

David M. Abshire is President and CEO of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Vice Chairman of the Board of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., which he co-founded in 1962, and served as its chief executive for many years. In July 2002, he was elected President of the Richard Lounsbery Foundation of New York.

In 1962, Dr. Abshire and Admiral Arleigh Burke founded the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Over the past 40 years, the strategic, long-range, and anticipatory analyses of CSIS have had an impact on policymakers and business community leaders around the world. More recently in 1983–1987, he was Ambassador to NATO where, in reaction to the threat posed by Soviet SS-20 missiles, he was the United States point man in Europe for deployment of Pershing and Cruise missiles. It was this NATO success that convinced the Soviets to sign the historic INP Treaty and withdraw their missiles. Ambassador Abshire initiated a new conventional defense improvement effort so that NATO would not have to rely heavily on nuclear weapons. For this, he was given the highest Defense Department civilian award, its Distinguished Public Service Medal.

Dr. Abshire served as Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations from 1970–1973 and later as Chairman of the U.S. Board of International Broadcasting. He was a member of the Murphy Commission on the Organization of the Government, the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, and the President's Task Force on U.S. Government International Broadcasting. During the transition of government in 1980, Dr. Abshire was asked by President-elect Reagan to head the National Security Group, which included the State and Defense Departments, the U.S. Information Agency, and the Central Intelligence Agency. He has also served on the Advisory Board of the Naval War College and on the Executive Panel of the Chief of Naval Operations.

In 1987 he served as a Special Counselor to President Reagan with Cabinet rank, to coordinate the Iran-Contra investigation and had authority to meet with the President alone.

He has received the John Carroll Award for outstanding service by a Georgetown University alumnus; the Distinguished Graduate Award of the United States Military Academy; the 1994 U.S. Military Academy's Castle Award; the Gold Medal of the Sons of the American Revolution; the Baylor Distinguished Alumni Award; the Order of the Crown (Belgium); Commander de l'Ordre de Leopold (Belgium); the Medal of the President of the Italian Republic, Senate, Parliament and Government; Grand Official of the Order of the Republic of Italy; Order of Diplomatic Service Merit Heung-In Medal (Korea); the insignia of the Commander, First Class, Order of the Lion of Finland; in 1999 the Order of the Liberator (Argentina); and in May 2001, the Order of the Sacred Treasure God and Silver Star (Japan). In addition to the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, he was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal. In 2002, the Abshire-Inamori Academy on Leadership was established at CSIS.


Focus: Security, United States

Language Fluency:


Last Updated: Aug 13, 2007

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