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2010 Distinguished Graduate Award 

HON (R) Robert Kimmitt '69

Throughout an extraordinary career of service, Ambassador Robert M. Kimmitt has contributed significantly to our nation’s security and well being.  Seamlessly blending the roles of soldier, statesman, and businessman, he has established himself as a national security and financial policy expert, personifying the ideals of Duty, Honor, Country across an exceptional scope of engagement.

At West Point, Bob Kimmitt was a distinguished cadet, cadet company commander, and captain of the Rugby Team.  He is a class officer, has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Graduates, and, as Class Scribe, has written the Class of 1969 column in Assembly magazine for over 40 years.

Lieutenant Kimmitt volunteered for duty in Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne Brigade after graduating first in his Ranger School class.  He served with B Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry; C Battery, 3rd Battalion, 319th Field Artillery; and Headquarters, 4th Battalion, 503rd Infantry.  Extending his tour, he became the first in his class to command in combat.  He left Vietnam with three Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, and the Air Medal, returning to Ft. Campbell, KY, where he served with the 101st Airborne Division.

In 1974, as a member of the first class of the military’s Funded Legal Education Program, Captain Kimmitt attended Georgetown University Law Center.  While at Georgetown, he began working on the National Security Council Staff, commencing a lifetime’s work in international and security policy.

Ambassador Kimmitt eventually served as the NSC Executive Secretary and as the first NSC General Counsel.  When he left to become General Counsel to the US Treasury Department, he had served three Presidents, bridging the Iranian hostage crisis, the American downing of Libyan aircraft following an attack over international waters, the Soviet shoot down of a Korean airliner, the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, and the liberation operation in Grenada.
Returning to public service from private law practice in 1989, Ambassador Kimmitt became Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, serving during German Unification and the fall of the Soviet Union, the Panama operation in December 1989, and the first Gulf Crisis and War.  For his performance during this critical period, especially as architect of the U.N. strategy that underpinned the historic coalition effort that removed Iraqi forces from Kuwait, he was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal, the Nation’s second highest civilian award, by President George H.W. Bush.

In 1991 he was appointed as the first American Ambassador in over 50 years to a united Germany.  For his service, he was awarded Germany’s highest decoration, the Order of Merit, and the US Defense Department Public Service Award.  On his return from Germany in 1993, he was elected to the American Academy of Diplomacy.

Ambassador Kimmitt then began over a decade in the private sector, still continuing national service as a member of the National Defense Panel, the Director of Central Intelligence’s National Security Advisory Panel, and the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.  A lifetime member of the Council of Foreign Relations, he is never far from the issues that drive national and international concerns.

Ambassador Kimmitt’s private sector experience complemented his public service.  As an attorney, he specialized in international law before the concept of globalization was part of our business vernacular.  As Vice Chairman and President of Commerce One, he led a software provider at the forward edge of e-commerce business solutions.  And at Time Warner, as Executive Vice President, Global Public Policy, he led integration of policy and business approaches that anticipated the blurring of news and entertainment content and delivery.

As Deputy Secretary of the Treasury from 2005-2009, Ambassador Kimmitt served in a position requiring his unique combination of diplomatic, economic, and business expertise.  He led the efforts to stand up healthy economies in difficult post-conflict environments like Afghanistan and Iraq, oversaw financial sanctions to thwart the nuclear proliferation programs of Iran and North Korea, and chaired the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, championing openness to foreign investment while protecting our national security.  Upon leaving government, Ambassador Kimmitt became Chairman of the Deloitte Center for Cross-Border Investment and Senior International Counsel to the law firm of WilmerHale.

Throughout his careers in government and business, Ambassador Kimmitt has maintained his commitment to the Army.  Leaving active duty for the Army Reserves in 1982, he held a series of Mobilization Designee assignments, culminating in service as a Deputy Director (J-5) on the Joint Staff.  Remembering his own generation of servicemen and women, he was a member of the small group of veterans who led the effort to construct the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, where 17 of his classmates are forever remembered.  Major General Kimmitt retired from the Army Reserves in 2004.

Bob Kimmitt -- General, Ambassador, and Secretary Kimmitt -- has advanced on many avenues to a single destination:  that of the modern day Soldier Statesman.  His life and work serve as reminders of what the United States Military Academy represents and seeks to instill in its graduates.

Accordingly, the West Point Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy takes great pride in presenting the 2010 Distinguished Graduate Award to Robert M. Kimmitt.