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Former Ambassador to Speak on U.S. Military

Karl Eikenberry to discuss organizing principles for armed forces

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Karl Eikenberry, the former American ambassador to Afghanistan and a retired Army lieutenant general, will discuss U.S. civil-military relations in a talk at Northwestern University.

Eikenberry’s speech, “America and Its Military: Drifting Apart,” will begin at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 31, in the McCormick Foundation Center, 1870 Campus Drive on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. The event is free and open to the public.

It has been more than four decades since the end of conscription in the United States and the establishment of an all-volunteer force. While the capabilities of America’s military are unrivaled today, there are signs that the all-volunteer force model is under stress, including huge personnel costs, repetitive combat deployments and isolation from the citizens that the armed forces are entrusted to serve and protect. Eikenberry will address the political, economic and foreign policy challenges faced by the United States in deciding the organizing principles for its military.  

At the event, Northwestern also will announce that in recognition of National Military Appreciation Month, the University is increasing its financial support for the Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides funding for military veterans to attend Northwestern, and making donations to a wide range of other veterans organizations.

Eikenberry is the Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow and Director of the U.S.-Asia Security Initiative at Stanford University’s Asia-Pacific Research Center and a Stanford University Professor of Practice. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan from May 2009 until July 2011 and had a 35-year career in the United States Army, retiring with the rank of lieutenant general. 

He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, earned master’s degrees from Harvard University in East Asian studies and Stanford University in political science, was awarded an interpreter’s certificate in Mandarin Chinese from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and has an advanced degree in Chinese history from Nanjing University. He is also the recipient of the George F. Kennan Award for Distinguished Public Service and Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Centennial Medal.

Eikenberry is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a board member of The Asia Foundation and council member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. His articles and essays on U.S. and international security issues have appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Washington Quarterly, American Foreign Policy Interests, American Interest, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy and The Financial Times.

Eikenberry’s talk is sponsored by the Buffett Institute of Northwestern University

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