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2007 Distinguished Graduate Award

BG Amos A. (Joe) Jordan '46

Brigadier General Amos A. ("Joe") Jordan has applied his exceptional intellect and broad experience to prepare strong leaders for a modern world and left behind a legacy that will serve our nation for years to come.  His two decades of extraordinary service at the United States Military Academy, his outstanding contributions after he retired from the military, and his lifelong dedication to "Duty, Honor, Country" have immeasurably enhanced the prominence of West Point as an institution without peer.

While a Cadet, Amos Jordan served as First Captain of the Corps of Cadets and graduated third in the Class of 1946. Physically as well as mentally fit, he was twice Eastern Intercollegiate Boxing Champion, and in 1945, was named outstanding boxer in the East.

As a Rhodes Scholar he studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Oxford University, earning a B.A. and M.A., with high honors.  In 1961, he earned a PhD in International Relations from Columbia University.  His doctoral dissertation published commercially as “Foreign Aid and the Defense of Southeast Asia,” drew on his impressive educational background and his practical experience, establishing him as a national authority on foreign aid.

Included in his early career was distinguished military service with the 82nd Field Artillery Battalion at Fort Benning, the 49th Field Artillery Battalion, and the 7th Division Artillery in Korea. Then, less than 10 years after his graduation, he was called upon to serve the nation in a different way, specifically as a statutory professor at the US Military Academy. He responded to that call of duty.

Amos Jordan consistently applied his exceptional talent to developing people and policies for a modern world. His lectures and leadership at West Point for over twenty years helped shape a military better qualified to deal with the challenges of the Cold War, Vietnam, and the complex challenges facing the nation today. His contributions were instrumental in helping to transform the US Military Academy from a school focused on engineering and military science to the world's premier broad military college.  He introduced and developed a curriculum that built challenging courses in economics, political science, and policy analysis. As a statutory professor, he provided continuity and overall guidance to the Academy leadership through his service on the Academic Board, the Admissions Committee, the Athletic Board, the Library Committee, and the Museum Board. Of key importance, he pioneered the "Areas of Concentration" concept that ultimately evolved into today’s academic majors program.

He developed and articulated an integrated understanding of the elements of national power and was among the first in the nation to grasp the full significance of developing countries, particularly in Asia, as arenas for the pursuit of US national security interests. Detailed to the Department of State for a year in 1963-64, he served as Special Political Adviser to the US Ambassador to India, Chester Bowles. His responsibilities included developing a US military aid program for India, studying the economic impact of the Indian defense budget, and analyzing Soviet political strategy in India.  Ambassador Bowles would note that "Rarely …have I met anyone who has a keener insight into the basic forces shaping events in Asia, sounder perspective on how the United States can best conduct itself in its new world setting, and greater powers of analysis and expression." Convinced that the US would become engaged in Vietnam, he played a lead role in responding to a 1965 request from the Army Chief of Staff for "a comprehensive analysis of past, present, and future issues relating to South Vietnam." In 1969, he would ultimately lead a three-month, in-country evaluation of pacification operations in South Vietnam and how they were measured.  Earlier in 1966-67, he was detailed to serve as Director of the Near East-South Asia Region in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He prepared a military aid program for the Kingdom of Jordan, developed a new military supply policy for India and Pakistan, and initiated proposals for a political settlement of the 1967 Arab-Israeli hostilities.

From 1974-76, after retirement, as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, he was the key advisor to Secretaries Schlesinger and Rumsfeld on all matters in which foreign and defense policy were intertwined. Secretary Schlesinger stated, "Mr. Jordan's personal dedication, intellectual achievement, professional integrity, and outstanding leadership have combined to produce a record of achievement bringing great credit to himself and to the Department of Defense." In 1976-77, he served first as Deputy then as Acting Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance and was the principal advisor to the Secretary of State on security assistance matters, providing policy guidance for all US security assistance programs worldwide.

Beyond government service, General Jordan helped to bring to prominence the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). This non-partisan, non-profit, public policy institute provides strategic, multi-disciplinary insights on international security and foreign policy issues.  During more than two decades of association with CSIS, including service as President and CEO in 1983-88 and Vice Chairman of the Board in 1988-94, he helped establish CSIS as one of the most respected think-tanks in the nation and a worldwide leader in its field. Late in this period, he co-founded and co-chaired the international “Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific” which has become the leading non-governmental organization in the region dealing with foreign and defense policy matters.

Throughout his long and distinguished career, he has lectured widely and authored numerous articles and books.  His classic, American National Security:  Policy and Process, in its five editions, has been the best-selling textbook in the field for more than two decades. More recently (1989-93) he served as a member of the President's Intelligence Oversight Board to review and report on the intelligence community's internal procedures and operations.

Many of the nation's highest military leaders, yesterday and today, were once his students. Perhaps most important, he has helped develop and lead enduring institutions that will continue to shape the leaders and issues of the future.

Accordingly, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy takes great pride in presenting the 2007 Distinguished Graduate Award to Amos A. Jordan.