EXECUTIVE LECTURE FORUM:
Activities: 2002: Bio: Oakley
 

September 26, 2002 Ambassador Robert Oakley

Ambassador Robert B. Oakley, Fellow, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University.

Ambassador (Ret.) Robert B. Oakley has been a Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, since January 1995. He was Acting Director from August 1999 until January 2000. He retired from the United States Foreign Service in September 1991, after 34 years, and became associated with the United States Institute of Peace. In December 1992, he was named by President Bush as Special Envoy to Somalia, serving there with Operation Restore Hope until March 1993. In October 1993, he was again named as Special Envoy to Somalia by President Clinton, and served in this capacity until March 1994.

Born in Dallas, Texas, Mr. Oakley was raised in Shreveport, Louisiana. He graduated from South Kent School in South Kent, Connecticut in 1948 and Princeton University in 1952, with a BA degree in Philosophy and History. He served as a U.S. Naval Intelligence Officer in Japan from June 1953 until December 1955. Robert Oakley joined the Foreign Service in 1957 and was assigned to Khartoum, Sudan in 1958. He served in the Office of United Nations Political Affairs, Department of State; U.S. Embassies: Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Saigon, Vietnam; Paris, France; Beirut, Lebanon; and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. In September 1974, he became Senior Director for Middle East and South Asia on the Staff of the National Security Council; and in February 1977 was named Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific. In November 1979, he was confirmed by the Senate as U.S. Ambassador to Zaire, and in August 1982, U.S. Ambassador to Somalia. In September 1984, he was appointed Director of the State Department Office of Terrorism. He again joined the National Security Council Staff on January 1, 1987 as Assistant to the President for Middle East and South Asia. He was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan in August 1988.

During his service with the State Department, Robert Oakley received the State Department Meritorious Honor Award, four Presidential Meritorious Service Awards, and the State Department Distinguished Honor Award. For his service as Special Envoy to Somalia, he received a second State Department Distinguished Honor Award and the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. On June 18, 1993, he received the Diplomatic Award for Excellence of the American Academy of Diplomacy.

He is a member of the Naval Studies Board of the National Academy of Science, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Association of American Committees on Foreign Relations, and the Board of Trustees of the International Rescue Committee.

He is the co-author of a book on his experiences in Somalia (Operation Restore Hope, USIP, 1995), and a book on police intervention in peacekeeping (Policing the New World Disorder, NDU, 1998), as well as a number of articles, speeches, etc.

Robert Oakley married another Foreign Service Officer, Phyllis Elliot, in Cairo, Egypt, in June 1958. The Oakleys have two married children, four grandsons, and a granddaughter.

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