Robert McFarlane : biography
Robert Carl "Bud" McFarlane (born July 12, 1937) was National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan, serving from 1983 through 1985.
After a career in the Marine Corps he 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.Smith, R. "", Washington Post (1988-09-15): "Robert C. McFarlane, a key architect of President Reagan’s ‘Star Wars’ plan to develop sophisticated defenses against Soviet ballistic missiles, said he has concluded ‘There is no current basis for confidence that a survivable defensive shield is within reach’ and that Reagan’s announcement of it was misleading and simplistic." Subsequently, he was involved in the Iran-Contra affair.
Early life and education
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 also sang in the Chapel Choir and was a Brigade Administrative Officer (four-striper) and later 14th Company Commander.
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").
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, the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security 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 currently serves on a number boards including:
- Aegis Defence Services – Non-executive director
- Partnership for a Secure America – Advisory Board
- Myriant Incorporated – Advisory Board
- Member of the Committee on the Present Danger
- Formerly was an advisor to the 2008 John McCain 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.