|13th United States National Security Advisor|
October 17, 1983 –December 4, 1985
|Preceded by||William Clark|
|Succeeded by||John Poindexter|
|Deputy National Security Advisor|
April 4, 1982 –October 17, 1983
|Preceded by||James Nance|
|Succeeded by||John Poindexter|
|Counselor of the Department of State|
February 28, 1981 –April 4, 1982
|Preceded by||Rozanne L. Ridgway|
|Succeeded by||James L. Buckley|
Robert Carl McFarlane
July 12, 1937
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Education|| United States Naval Academy (BS)|
Geneva Graduate Institute (MA)
National Defense University
|Years of service||1959–1979|
|Awards|| Navy Distinguished Service Medal |
Bronze Star (with valor)
Meritorious Service Medal
Navy Commendation Medal (with valor)
Secretary's Distinguished Service Award
Navy Distinguished Public Service Award
Robert Carl "Bud" McFarlane (born July 12, 1937) is a retired Marine Corps officer who served as National Security Advisor to President of the United States Ronald Reagan from 1983 through 1985.
The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA), commonly referred to as the National Security Advisor (NSA) or at times informally termed the NSC Advisor, is a senior aide in the Executive Office of the President, based at the West Wing of the White House, who serves as the chief in-house advisor to the President of the United States on national security issues. The National Security Advisor is appointed by the President and does not require confirmation by the Senate, but an appointment of a three or four-star general to the role requires Senate reconfirmation of military rank.
The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.
Ronald Wilson Reagan was an American politician and film actor who served as the 40th president of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Prior to his presidency, he was a Hollywood actor and union leader before serving as the 33rd governor of California from 1967 to 1975.
After a career in the Marines, McFarlane became part of the Reagan administration and was a leading architect of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) for defending the United States against missile attack.Subsequently, he was involved in, and pleaded guilty to charges for actions related to, the Iran-Contra affair, but received a pardon from President George H.W. Bush.
The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was a proposed missile defense system intended to protect the United States from attack by ballistic strategic nuclear weapons. The concept was first announced publicly by President Ronald Reagan on 23 March 1983. Reagan was a vocal critic of the doctrine of mutual assured destruction (MAD), which he described as a "suicide pact", and he called upon the scientists and engineers of the United States to develop a system that would render nuclear weapons obsolete.
A federal pardon in the United States is the action of the President of the United States that completely sets aside or commutes (lessens) the punishment for a federal crime. The authority to take such action is granted to the president by Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution. Under the Constitution, the president's clemency power extends only to federal criminal offenses. All requests for executive clemency for federal offenses are directed to the Office of the Pardon Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice for investigation and review. The beneficiary of a pardon needs to accept the pardon and acknowledge that the crime did take place.
After graduating high school, McFarlane entered the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1955, where he graduated in 1959. He was the third member of his family to attend the Academy, after his uncle Robert McFarlane (1925) and his brother Bill (1949). At the academy he graduated in the top 15 percent of the class and lettered twice in gymnastics. He received an honorary doctorate from the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. in 2014. He sang in the Chapel Choir, and was a Brigade Administrative Officer and 14th Company Commander.
A secondary school is both an organization that provides secondary education and the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools can provide both lower secondary education and upper secondary education, but these can also be provided in separate schools, as in the American middle and high school system.
The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy adjacent to Annapolis, Maryland. Established on 10 October 1845, under Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft, it is the second oldest of the United States' five service academies, and educates officers for commissioning primarily into the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The 338-acre (137 ha) campus is located on the former grounds of Fort Severn at the confluence of the Severn River and Chesapeake Bay in Anne Arundel County, 33 miles (53 km) east of Washington, D.C. and 26 miles (42 km) southeast of Baltimore. The entire campus is a National Historic Landmark and home to many historic sites, buildings, and monuments. It replaced Philadelphia Naval Asylum, in Philadelphia, that served as the first United States Naval Academy from 1838 to 1845 when the Naval Academy formed in Annapolis.
Annapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Maryland, as well as the county seat of Anne Arundel County. Situated on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn River, 25 miles (40 km) south of Baltimore and about 30 miles (50 km) east of Washington, D.C., Annapolis is part of the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. Its population was measured at 38,394 by the 2010 census.
Following graduation from the Naval Academy in 1959, McFarlane was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps, where he served as a field artillery officer.
As a Marine Corps officer, McFarlane commanded platoons, a battery of field artillery howitzers and was the Operations Officer for an artillery regiment. He taught Gunnery at the Army Advanced Artillery Course. He was the executive assistant to the Marine Corps' Operations Deputy from 1968–1971, preparing the deputy for meetings with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. During this assignment he was also the Action Officer in the Marine Corps Operations Division for Europe/NATO, the Middle East and Latin America.
A platoon is a military unit typically composed of two or more squads/sections/patrols. Platoon organization varies depending on the country and the branch, but typically, per the official tables of organization as published in U.S. military documents; a full-strength U.S. infantry rifle platoon consists of 39 Soldiers or 43 Marines. There are other types of infantry platoons, depending upon service and type of infantry company/battalion to which the platoon is assigned, and these platoons may range from as few as 18 to 69. Non-infantry platoons may range from as small as a nine-man communications platoon to a 102-man maintenance platoon. A platoon leader or commander is the officer in command of a platoon. This person is usually a junior officer—a second or first lieutenant or an equivalent rank. The officer is usually assisted by a platoon sergeant. A platoon is typically the smallest military unit led by a commissioned officer.
A howitzer is a type of artillery piece characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of comparatively small propellant charges to propel projectiles over relatively high trajectories, with a steep angle of descent.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) is a body of senior uniformed leaders in the United States Department of Defense which advises the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council on military matters. The composition of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is defined by statute and consists of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (VCJCS), the Military Service Chiefs from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force, and the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, all appointed by the President following Senate confirmation. Each of the individual Military Service Chiefs, outside their Joint Chiefs of Staff obligations, works directly for the Secretary of the Military Department concerned, i.e., Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Air Force.
McFarlane served two combat tours in the Vietnam War. In March 1965, he commanded the artillery battery in the first landing of U.S. combat forces in Vietnam. While deployed during his first tour, McFarlane was selected for graduate studies as an Olmsted Scholar. McFarlane received a master's degree (License) in strategic studies with highest honors from the Graduate Institute of International Studies (Institut de Hautes Etudes Internationales, HEI) in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America or simply the American War, was an undeclared war in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist allies; South Vietnam was supported by the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies. The war is considered a Cold War-era proxy war from some US perspectives. It lasted some 19 years with direct U.S. involvement ending in 1973 following the Paris Peace Accords, and included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, resulting in all three countries becoming communist states in 1975.
The Olmsted Scholar Program, named after George H. Olmsted, awards scholarships to highly qualified, active duty junior officers in the United States military in order to pursue language studies and overseas graduate-level education. Created in concert with the Department of Defense, the Scholar Program provides one year of foreign language training followed by two years of study at a foreign graduate school.
Security and strategic studies is an interdisciplinary academic field centered on the study of conflict and peace strategies, often devoting special attention to the relationship between international politics, geostrategy, international diplomacy, international economics, and military power. In the scope of the studies are also subjects such as the role of intelligence, diplomacy, and international cooperation for security and defense. The subject is normally taught at the post-graduate academic or professional, usually strategic-political and strategic-military levels.
After attending the Graduate Institute of International Studies, McFarlane returned for a second tour in 1967–1968 as a Regimental Fire Support Coordinator for the 3rd Marine Division deployed along the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone during the Tet Offensive. He organized all fire support (B-52s, naval gunfire from the USS New Jersey (BB-62) and artillery) for forces deployed at Con Thien, Cam Lo, Dong Ha, The Rockpile, Khe Sanh and points between. McFarlane received a Bronze Star and a Navy Commendation Medal, both with Valor device.
Following his second tour in Vietnam and a tour at Headquarters Marine Corps, in 1971 he was named a White House Fellow. He was the first Marine Corps officer selected for the program.
McFarlane was assigned to the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House and at the conclusion of that assignment was selected as the Military Assistant to Henry Kissinger at the National Security Council. In this post, McFarlane dealt with intelligence exchanges with the People's Republic of China from 1973 to 1976, giving detailed intelligence briefings to China at the time of the Sino-Soviet split. He also accompanied Kissinger on his visits to China. In addition, McFarlane dealt with other aspects of foreign policy, including the Middle East, relations with the Soviet Union and arms control. McFarlane was appointed by President Gerald Ford as his Special Assistant for National Security Affairs while a Lieutenant Colonel and was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal in 1976.
Upon leaving the White House, McFarlane was assigned to the National Defense University, where he co-authored a book on crisis management while concurrently receiving a diploma from the National War College.
He ended his Marine Corps career on Okinawa as Operations Officer for the 12th Marine Regiment. McFarlane retired in 1979 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
In 1979, he was appointed by U.S. Senator John Tower to the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he was responsible for staffing Senate consideration of the SALT II Treaty from 1979 to 1981. He also authored much of Ronald Reagan's foreign policy platform during the 1980 presidential campaign.
In 1981, President Reagan appointed and the Senate confirmed McFarlane as Counselor to the Department of State.In this post he assisted Secretary of State Alexander Haig.
In 1982, Reagan appointed McFarlane as Deputy National Security Advisor responsible for the integration of the policy recommendations of the Departments of State, Treasury and Defense. In 1983, he was appointed by the president as his Special Representative in the Middle East responsible for Israeli-Arab negotiations.
McFarlane has been criticized for involving the United States armed forces in the Lebanon Civil War with gunship bombardment of Lebanese opposition forces which may have led to the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing where 241 American servicemen were killed.
Following that assignment, he returned to the White House and was appointed President Reagan's National Security Advisor.In that post, he was responsible for the development of U.S. foreign and defense policy. He was a supporter of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI or "Star Wars").
The Iran-Contra affair involved secretly selling arms to Iran and funneling the money to support the Contras in Nicaragua. As National Security Adviser, McFarlane urged Reagan to negotiate the arms deal with Iranian intermediaries, but McFarlane says that by late December 1985 he was urging Reagan to end the arms shipments.McFarlane resigned on December 4, 1985, citing that he wanted to spend more time with his family; he was replaced by Admiral John Poindexter.
The Iran-Contra affair came to light in November 1986 and a political scandal ensued. Disheartened, feeling abused by his former colleagues and in depression over the embarrassment for the president that his actions had contributed to, McFarlane attempted suicide with an overdose of 25 to 30 valium tabletson February 9, 1987, saying he had failed his country.
In 1988, he pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor counts of withholding information from Congress as part of the Iran-Contra cover-up.He was sentenced to two years' probation and a $20,000 fine but was pardoned by President George H.W. Bush on Christmas Eve 1992.
McFarlane co-founded and served as CEO of McFarlane Associates Inc., an international consulting company.
McFarlane is a member of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) Board of Advisors, is president of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, is on the Board of Advisors and is a founding member of the Set America Free Coalition. He is also an Advisory Board member for the Partnership for a Secure America, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to recreating the bipartisan center in American national security and foreign policy.
McFarlane serves on a number of boards including:
He was an advisor to John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. Since 2009, McFarlane has been working in the southern region of Sudan and Darfur on intertribal relations and development projects. On September 30, 2009, the Washington Post published a story suggesting that McFarlane's contract for this work, which is supported by the government of Qatar, was the result of a request by Sudanese officials. McFarlane denied any improper contact with Sudanese officials or efforts to avoid disclosure of his work. The Washington Post article reported that some persons involved in peacemaking efforts in the southern Sudan region questioned the source and helpfulness of McFarlane's activities.That article prompted FBI investigators to review McFarlane's activities in the Sudan. After an exhaustive probe that lasted three years and included search of his trash, email, and personal belongings, investigators concluded their search and did not file any criminal charges.
In July 2011, McFarlane, in cooperation with former CIA director Jim Woolsey, co-founded the United States Energy Security Council,sponsored by the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security.
|Navy Distinguished Service Medal|
|Bronze Star with Valor device|
|Meritorious Service Medal|
|Navy Commendation Medal with Valor device|
|Army Commendation Medal|
|Combat Action Ribbon|
|Secretary of State Distinguished Service Award|
|Secretary of the Navy Medal for Distinguished Public Service|
|Presidential Service Badge|
|Alfred Thayer Mahan Award for Literary Achievement (1979)|
|American-Swiss Friendship "Man of the Year" Award (1985)|
The Iran–Contra affair, popularized in Iran as the McFarlane affair, also referred to as Irangate, Contragate, the Iran–Contra scandal, or simply Iran–Contra, was a political scandal in the United States that occurred during the second term of the Reagan Administration. Senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, which was the subject of an arms embargo. The administration hoped to use the proceeds of the arms sale to fund the Contras in Nicaragua. Under the Boland Amendment, further funding of the Contras by the government had been prohibited by Congress.
Oliver Laurence North is an American political commentator, television host, military historian, author, and retired United States Marine Corps lieutenant colonel. He was convicted in the Iran–Contra affair of the late 1980s, but his convictions were vacated and reversed, and all charges against him dismissed in 1991.
John Marlan Poindexter is a retired United States naval officer and Department of Defense official. He was Deputy National Security Advisor and National Security Advisor for the Reagan administration. He was convicted in April 1990 of multiple felonies as a result of his actions in the Iran–Contra affair, but his convictions were reversed on appeal in 1991. More recently, he served a brief stint as the director of the DARPA Information Awareness Office for the George W. Bush administration. He is the father of NASA astronaut and U.S. Navy Captain Alan G. Poindexter.
This article is about the history of the United States National Security Council during the Reagan Administration, 1981–1989.
This article is about the history of the United States National Security Council during the first Bush Administration, 1989–1993.
Lawrence Sidney Eagleburger was an American statesman and career diplomat, who served briefly as the Secretary of State under President George H. W. Bush. Previously, he had served in lesser capacities under Presidents Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan, and as Deputy Secretary of State under George H. W. Bush.
Elliott Abrams is an American diplomat and lawyer who has served in foreign policy positions for Presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump. Abrams is considered to be a neoconservative. He is currently a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. On January 25, 2019, he was appointed as Special Representative for Venezuela.
Fawn Hall is a former secretary to Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North and a notable figure in the Iran-Contra affair by helping him shred confidential documents.
The October Surprise conspiracy theory refers to an alleged plot to influence the outcome of the 1980 United States presidential election, contested between incumbent president Jimmy Carter (D–GA) and his opponent, former California governor Ronald Reagan (R–CA).
Laurence Hirsch Silberman is a Senior United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He was appointed in October 1985 by Ronald Reagan and took senior status on November 1, 2000. On June 11, 2008, Silberman was named a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor granted by the government of the United States.
Otto Juan Reich, is an American former senior official in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush. Among other positions held, he has been the President's Special Envoy for the Western Hemisphere; Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs; United States Ambassador to Venezuela; and Assistant Administrator of the US Agency for International Development, a recess appointment. In 2003, Bush appointed him US Special Envoy to the Western Hemisphere. Since leaving the White House in 2004, he has headed his own international consulting firm, Otto Reich Associates, LLC, based in Washington, D.C.. During the Nicaraguan Revolution, Reich was in charge of the U.S. Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean, which was involved in lobbying efforts for the Contras. In July 2012, Reich received the Walter Judd Freedom Award, which is awarded yearly by the Fund for American Studies.
Manucher Ghorbanifar is an expatriate Iranian arms dealer and former SAVAK agent.
Duane Ramsdell "Dewey" Clarridge was an American senior operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and supervisor for more than 30 years. Clarridge was the chief of the Latin American division from 1981 to 1987 and a key figure in the Iran-Contra Affair.
The Tower Commission was commissioned on December 1, 1986 by United States president Ronald Reagan in response to the Iran–Contra affair, in which senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, which was the subject of an arms embargo. The commission, composed of former Senator John Tower of Texas, former Secretary of State Edmund Muskie, and former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, was tasked with reviewing the proper role of the National Security Council staff in national security operations generally, and in the arms transfers to Iran specifically.
Alan Dale Fiers Jr. is an American former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer, who served as President Ronald Reagan's chief of the CIA's Central American Task Force from October 1984 until his retirement in 1988.
The presidency of Ronald Reagan in the United States was marked by multiple scandals, resulting in the investigation, indictment, or conviction of over 138 administration officials, the largest number for any U.S. president.
Stefan A. Halper is an American foreign policy scholar and Senior Fellow at the University of Cambridge where he is a Life Fellow at Magdalene College. He served as a White House official in the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan administrations, and was reportedly in charge of the CIA spying operation by the 1980 Ronald Reagan presidential campaign that became known as "Debategate". Halper had through his decades of work for the CIA extensive ties to the Bush family. Through his work with Sir Richard Billing Dearlove he had ties to the British Secret Intelligence Service MI6.
J. Daniel Howard was Special Assistant to President of the United States Ronald Reagan from July 1986 to February 1988, United States Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs from February 1988 to May 1989 and Under Secretary of the Navy from 1989 to 1993.
Gaston Joseph Sigur Jr. was the United States Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 1986 to 1989.
The Iran–Contra affair was a political scandal in the United States that came to light in November 1986. During the Reagan administration, senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, the subject of an arms embargo. Some U.S. officials also hoped that the arms sales would secure the release of hostages and allow U.S. intelligence agencies to fund the Nicaraguan Contras. Under the Boland Amendment, further funding of the Contras by the government had been prohibited by Congress.
Rozanne L. Ridgway
| Counselor of the Department of State |
James L. Buckley
| Deputy National Security Advisor |
| National Security Advisor |