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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - April/May 2005
Hon. Robert C. McFarlane


Robert C. (Bud) McFarlane was perhaps marked for a superlative career even before entering the Naval Academy for Plebe summer in 1955.  An Eagle Scout and the son of Texas Congressman, Bud was the third member of his family to attend the Academy and to serve honorably.  These included his Uncle, Robert McFarlane (’25) and his brother. Bill (’49).  At the Academy Bud excelled in academics, athletics, and military aptitude; graduating in the top 15% of the class, lettering twice in gymnastics and attaining leadership positions first as Brigade Administrative Officer (four-striper) and later as 14th Company Commander.  He also sang in the Chapel Choir.
 
Following graduation, Mr. McFarlane was commissioned in the U.S. Marine Corps where he served honorably as an Artillery Officer before retiring in 1979.  As a Marine Corps Officer, he commanded Platoons, a Battery of Field Artillery Howitzers, and was the Operations Officer for an Artillery Regiment.  He was selected to teach Gunnery at the Army Advanced Artillery Course, and later (’68-‘71) was the Executive Assistant to the Marine Corps' Operations Deputy where he was involved on a continuous basis with preparing the Deputy for representing the Marine Corps in 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. 
 
He served two tours in Vietnam in combat action against the enemy. In March 1965, he commanded the  artillery battery in the first landing of US combat forces in Vietnam. After a break for graduate studies as an Olmsted Scholar he returned for a second tour in 1967-1968 as a Regimental Fire Support Coordinator for the Third Marine Division deployed along the DMZ during the Tet Offensive.  He organized all fire support --       B-52s, Naval Gunfire (BB-62 New Jersey), and artillery for forces deployed at Con Thien, Cam Lo, Dong Ha, the Rockpile, Khe Sanh and points between. For his courage and exemplary professionalism during his service in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and Navy Commendation Medal, both with Combat “V.”   In the course of his career he also received eight personal and unit decorations.
 
While deployed during his first tour, Mr. McFarlane was selected for graduate studies as an Olmsted Scholar.   He attended the Institut de Hautes Etudes Internationales in Geneva, Switzerland. His courses were taught in French.  He graduated with Highest Honors and received a Masters Degree (License) with a specialty in Strategic Studies.
 
Following his second tour in Vietnam and a tour at Headquarters, Marine Corps, in 1971 he was named a White House Fellow  (the first Marine Corps Officer so selected) and assigned to the Office of Legislative Affairs in the White House.   At the conclusion of that assignment, in recognition of his depth in strategic studies and international affairs, he was selected as the Military Assistant to Henry Kissinger at the National Security Council.  During this assignment, he was personally responsible for extremely sensitive intelligence exchanges with China from 1973 through 1976.  He accompanied Dr. Kissinger on his visits to China and delivered detailed intelligence briefings to China that was perhaps the key substantive ingredient of our "China Card" vis-a-vis the Soviet Union.  Concurrently, he was involved in virtually every aspect of U.S. policy -- in the Middle East, US-Soviet Relations, Arms Control, etc.
 
Because of his extraordinary understanding of foreign cultures and the historical underpinnings of great power politics, he was appointed by President Ford as his Special Assistant for National Security Affairs while only a Lieutenant Colonel. 

At the conclusion of almost 5 years of exemplary service to the President of the United States in 1976 Mr. McFarlane was awarded the Nation’s highest peacetime military decoration, the Distinguished Service Medal.
 
Upon leaving the White House Mr. 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 concluded his distinguished Marine Corps career in Okinawa as Operations Officer for the 12th Marine Regiment.   Although selected and promoted before his contemporaries for the grade of Lieutenant Colonel with a promising military career ahead, he elected to retire in 1979 and began a distinguished career of civilian public service.  During 20 years of active duty, on every fitness report he received, Mr. McFarlane was ranked first among his peers.
 
In 1979 he was appointed by 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. Concurrently he authored a substantial portion of then-candidate Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy platform.
 
In 1981 he was appointed by President Reagan and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Counselor to the Department of State.  In that role he was responsible for sensitive exchanges between the Secretary of State (Alexander Haig) and Heads of State and Government throughout the Middle East and South Asia.
 
In 1982 President Reagan appointed Mr. McFarlane as his Deputy National Security Advisor where he was 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 where he was responsible for sensitive negotiations between Israel and the Arab States.
 
Following that assignment he returned to the White House and was appointed President Reagan’s National Security Advisor.  In that cabinet-level assignment he was responsible for the development of U.S. foreign and our defense policy.  Perhaps the contribution to our – and indeed global -- security for which he is best remembered is as the architect of the comprehensive set of U.S. policies – including most notably the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI or Star Wars) – which so stressed the Soviet economy as to bring it down, and in the process accelerated the collapse of Marxism in the former Soviet Union and ended the Cold War. 
 
In 1985, he was presented The American-Swiss Friendship Award for his contributions to the achievement of greater stability in global affairs.
 
Concurrently he was awarded the first Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award by then Secretary of State George Shultz.  In addition the Secretary of the Navy awarded Mr. McFarlane the Distinguished Public Service Medal for his extraordinary contributions to the advancement of America’s national interests.
 
Following his retirement from government after more than 30 years of honorable service, Mr. McFarlane founded his own company, Global Energy Investors (GEl), a developer of energy infrastructure projects in Asia and South America.  Mr. McFarlane serves concurrently as the Chairman and CEO of Energy and Communications Solutions, LLC (E&CS), a developer of energy and communications infrastructure projects in emerging markets, including Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.  E&CS is currently advising the governments of Russia and Ukraine on environmental policy and the establishment of market based greenhouse gas trading systems.
 
Apart from his business interests, Mr. McFarlane remains a respected figure and recognized expert in international affairs, and both the Executive and Legislative Branches of the U.S. and other governments frequently seek his advice and counsel.  He is a co-founder (with Dr. Henry Kissinger) and Vice Chair of the America-China Society, serves on the Board of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, is the founder and Director of the U.S. – Japan Leadership Council, a past director of the White House Fellows’ Foundation, and has been a member of the Board of Directors of The Travelers, Dillon Read (France Fund), and Church & Dwight (Arm and Hammer Baking Soda Company).
 
Mr. McFarlane also received the Navy League’s Alfred Thayer Mahan Award for Literary Achievement in recognition of his book, Crisis Resolution.
 
His outstanding personal contributions were not limited to military and public service, he was also chosen first as a Deacon, and then as an Elder of the Presbyterian Church.  Early in his career he was also President of the PTA at his children’s schools.  He founded and led a Boy Scout Troop and devoted his vacation time to take them on extended cross-country trips.  His leadership and Naval Academy- engrained traits were also passed on to his son, Scott, who graduated from the Naval Academy in the Class of 1987, where he served as the Brigade Commander. 
 
Demonstrated a strong interest in supporting the Navy and the United States Naval Academy. 
 
Although many of Mr. McFarlane's assignments were extremely demanding of his time and energy, he always made time available to support his Class, fellow alumni and his Alma Mater.  His conviction that his moral compass was set while at the Academy made him a strong vocal supporter and he returned often to publicly display his pride, loyalty and commitment to the values instilled here.
 
Throughout his distinguished career, Mr. McFarlane never forgot his roots and has remained an active member of the Naval Academy Alumni Association, serving and assisting the Class of 1959 Committee Officers throughout the years.  He is a life member of the Association.  He has delivered numerous presentation, talks and discussions to fellow alumni and Alumni Chapters.  He believes strongly in sharing his international expertise and sensitizing Academy alumni to the political “state of international affairs” through annual briefings to fellow alumni and local Alumni Chapters. 
 
Mr. McFarlane has been a key supporter of the Naval Academy-sponsored Foreign Affairs Conference. In 1985 he delivered the keynote address to the Annual Foreign Affairs Conference -- a gathering of students from throughout the country for 3 days of national security studies.  He also chaired a panel at the same Foreign Affairs Conference during previous years.
 
Mr. McFarlane has been active in assisting young men to get into the Naval Academy and has mentored four successful candidates seeking appointment.  All have succeeded.  He is presently mentoring two more candidates.  In addition, he has also mentored three candidates for the Marine Corps' Platoon Leaders Class (PLC).  Two have succeeded and the third is likely to enter next year.
 
He remains active in Naval Academy Alumni Affairs, serving on the Communications Committee of the USNA Alumni Association Board of Trustees, making significant contributions to annual fund drives.   As an active leader on the international stage he serves as a role model for strategic thinking by all Midshipmen.
 
Provided a lifetime of service to the Nation or Armed Forces:
 
As outlined above, Mr. McFarlane devoted over 30 years of devoted service to the United States Marine Corps, and the Executive and Legislative Branches of our government.  Following 4 years of excellence at the Naval Academy, he completed an exemplary and well-decorated 20-year career in the United States Marine Corps.  During his service as a Marine Corps Officer, in addition to his command and staff assignments in peace and war he served with distinction in the White House as the Special Assistant to President’s Ford and Reagan for National Security Affairs.
 
Following his active duty service, he continued to bring credit upon the Naval Academy and distinguished himself as an acknowledged scholar of international affairs while serving his nation in a succession of top level, highly visible positions at the U.S. Senate, the Department of State, and the White House.  The highlight of his public service was as the National Security Advisor to the President (Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs).
 
Following retirement from government service, he continued to indirectly serve our nation as President and CEO of McFarlane Associates where he provided strategic advisory services to major corporations and governmental organizations, both U.S. and international.  Currently he remains indirectly involved in supporting our national interests by assisting other countries – primarily those of the former Soviet Union -- to organize, finance, and construct   essential infrastructure projects as a Partner in Energy and Communications Solutions LLC,
 
Made significant and distinguished contributions to the nation via public service:
 
By any measure, Bud McFarlane’s career of public service has been of demonstrable and uncommon benefit to our country and to the cause of freedom in the world.  Whether one considers his service at the Senate Armed Services Committee, at the Department of State or in the White House, he distinguished himself as an original thinker (i.e. Star Wars), a courageous combat leader, and as a role model in keeping with the highest moral standards he learned at the Naval Academy.   Secretary of State Alexander Haig called him his “right arm.”  Upon his retirement from government in 1985, President Reagan told Mr. McFarlane that he was the only man he had ever known that he considered truly indispensable.  If one considers the salient events of the late twentieth century in international affairs – the end of the Cold War, the collapse of Marxism, or the reduction of nuclear weapons – it is not too much to say that Bud McFarlane contributed substantially to the achievement of all three.   He is truly the “Pug” Henry of his generation.  We recommend him for your consideration without full confidence and without reservation.
 
The nominee is a living graduate whose character, distinguished military and civilian services and stature draw wholesome comparison to the qualities that the U. S. Naval Academy strives for in keeping with its traditional values of duty, honor, courage and commitment and “Through Knowledge Sea Power.”
 
Robert McFarlane is a living and brilliant example of the "Through Knowledge Sea Power" adage. His lifetime of learning, teaching, and service in the International arena certainly strengthened our Sea Power and our Nation's ability to support Freedom everywhere.
 
Mr. McFarlane is a living graduate whose personal dedication to his country spanned more than 30 years of military and public service.  On numerous occasions his sense of duty, honor, and his courage were highlighted in the citations that accompanied his personal achievements.  In both his military and public assignments, his service was at the highest level of distinction as evidenced by personal awards of:

The Distinguished Service Medal -- the Navy and Marine Corps’ highest recognition for service in peacetime,
The Secretary of the Navy’s Medal for Distinguished Public Service,
The Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award,
The Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”
The Meritorious Service Medal,
The Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V”,
The Army Commendation Medal,
The Combat Action Ribbon,
The American-Swiss Friendship ‘Man of the Year” Award, and
The Alfred Thayer Mahan Award for Literary Achievement.


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