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Robert S. Mueller to Receive 2016 West Point Sylvanus Thayer Award

The West Point Association of Graduates is pleased to announce that Robert S. Mueller III, the sixth director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, will receive the 2016 Sylvanus Thayer Award. The award will be presented on October 6 during ceremonies hosted by Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., Class of 1975, superintendent, U.S. Military Academy.

West Point Association of Graduates Board Chairman retired Army Lt. Gen. Larry R. Jordan, Class of 1968, said, “The West Point Association of Graduates is honored to present the Thayer Award to Robert S. Mueller III, who served as the sixth director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Having Director Mueller forever associated with West Point through the Thayer Award speaks directly to its purpose of recognizing a citizen of the United States, other than a West Point graduate, whose outstanding character, accomplishments, and stature draw wholesome comparison to the qualities for which West Point strives. As a Marine officer who attended the Army Ranger and Airborne Schools, he led a rifle platoon in Vietnam before earning his law degree. He served as a litigator, U.S. Attorney and Acting Deputy Attorney General for the Department of Justice. He was sworn in as Director of the FBI one week before the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and helped lead the effort to protect the nation and its citizens, and counter those seeking our destruction. Mr. Mueller’s impressive record in serving our nation is an inspiration, and truly exemplifies the West Point values of ‘Duty, Honor, Country.’” 

“I want to thank the West Point Association of Graduates for the great honor of receiving the Sylvanus Thayer Award,” said Mueller. “I want also to thank the men and women of this great institution for their service to our country.  It is indeed a privilege to be associated with you and your commitment to the ideals set forth in West Point’s motto: Duty, Honor, Country.”  

Mueller’s distinguished career of service to the nation spans nearly five decades, beginning with his service as a Marine officer in Vietnam, and continuing through appointments as a federal prosecutor in San Francisco, Boston and Washington, DC and, most recently, serving an unprecedented two terms as the sixth director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Nominated by President George W. Bush, he was sworn in as director on September 4, 2001, just one week before the terrorist attacks of 9/11. His initial ten-year term was extended for an additional two years at the request of President Barack Obama and pursuant to special legislation enacted by the U.S. Congress.

As director of the FBI during one of the most critical periods in U.S. history, Mueller guided the transformation of the Bureau from a traditional law enforcement agency into a threat-driven, intelligence-led national security organization. He accomplished this transformation while upholding the FBI ideals of “Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity,” balancing the need for improved national security with preserving the constitutionally secured civil liberties of the American people.

Mueller’s visionary leadership strategically positioned the FBI to face the emerging national security challenges of the 21st century, including combating terrorism and cyber security threats. During his tenure as director, the FBI expanded its global presence to more than 70 overseas offices and deployed agents and analysts to Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere to work alongside U.S. servicemen and women to combat terrorism. At the same time, the FBI continued to battle domestic criminal activity such as civil rights violations, along with pursuing corrupt officials, violent gang members and white-collar criminals.

After receiving his undergraduate degree at Princeton University and a master’s degree in International Relations from New York University, Mueller joined the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served as a commissioned officer for three years. After attending Army Ranger and Airborne Schools, he led a rifle platoon of the 3rd Marine Division in Vietnam for one year. During his service, he received the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals, the Purple Heart, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

Following his military service, Mueller earned a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and began his legal career as a litigator in San Francisco. He then served for 12 years in United States Attorneys’ Offices, first in the Northern District of California in San Francisco, where he rose to be chief of its criminal division, and later in Boston, where he investigated and prosecuted major financial fraud, terrorist and public corruption cases, narcotics conspiracies, and international money laundering.

After working as a partner at a leading Boston law firm, Mueller returned to public service in 1989 as an assistant to Attorney General Richard L. Thornburgh in the U.S. Department of Justice, and took charge of its Criminal Division the following year. In this role, he oversaw the investigations and prosecutions of Panama leader Manuel Noriega, the Lockerbie Pan Am 103 bombing case, and mobster John Gotti.

In 1993, Mueller returned to private law practice, specializing in complex white-collar crime litigation. He resumed public service in 1995 as senior litigator in the Homicide Section of the District of Columbia United States Attorney’s Office. In 1998, Mueller was named United States Attorney in San Francisco and held that position until 2001. He then served as Acting Deputy Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice for several months before becoming FBI Director. Currently, Mueller is a partner at WilmerHale in Washington, DC, with a practice focusing on investigations, crisis management, privacy, and cyber security work.