General Martin Dempsey

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General Martin Dempsey

18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

As a Rubenstein Fellow, General Dempsey teaches several courses on leadership and military relations including a course in the Sanford School of Public Policy on American civil-military relations, co-taught with Professor Peter Feaver, and a course on management and leadership at The Fuqua School of Business.

In addition, Dempsey collaborates with the Duke Program on American Grand Strategy to convene security and defense experts, engages with the Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics (COLE) and Duke Athletics, and delivers guest speeches to student, faculty, and alumni groups.

Biography

General Martin E. Dempsey retired in 2015 after 41 years of military service.  During his time in the Army, he commanded a Cavalry Troop, a Tank Battalion, a Cavalry Regiment, a Tank Division, and United States Central Command where he was responsible for securing U.S. interests in the Middle East and South Asia.  He served in both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom accumulating 42 months in combat.

General Dempsey is a 1974 graduate of West Point and has Master’s Degrees from Duke in Literature, from the Army Command & General Staff College in Military Science, and from the National War College in National Security Strategy. He also has an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Law from Notre Dame University.

His military awards include the Bronze Star with valor device, the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, and Distinguished Service Medals from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard as well as awards from other Departments in the United States Government including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency.  He has received awards from many of our allies including France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Croatia, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore.

In the past five years he served as the Chief of Staff of the United States Army and then as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff he was the senior officer in the Armed Forces and the military advisor to the Secretary of Defense and to the President.

In 2015, General Dempsey was named one of the 100 most influential leaders in the world by Time Magazine. In March of this year, he was inducted into the Irish-America Hall of Fame, and in May he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. On 17 October 2016, Queen Elizabeth II made General Dempsey an Honorary Knight of the British Empire.

General Dempsey and his wife, Deanie, have been married for 39 years.  They served the military as a team, and Deanie was instrumental in supporting military families and championing many of the family programs that have been critical to our success over the past 14 years of conflict.

Marty and Deanie have three children and nine grandchildren.  Each of their three children served in the Army, and their son, Chris, continues to serve as a Major recently assigned to the Pentagon.

General Dempsey’s post-military career includes a teaching position at Duke University in public policy and leadership, a role as the Special Advisor to the Commissioner of the National Basketball Association for leader development and youth programs, and motivational speaking through the Washington Speakers’ Bureau.

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General Martin Dempsey News & Events

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4Jan, 2016

Trump Administration Considers a Drastic Cut in Refugees Allowed to Enter U.S.

Friday, September 6, 2019

The New York Times | September 6, 2019 By Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael D. Shear The White House is considering a plan that would keep most refugees who are fleeing war, persecution and famine out of the United States, significantly cutting back a decades-old program, according to current and former administration officials. …. In…

4Jan, 2016

Obama's Top General Slams Trump Military Pardons as 'Abdication of Moral Responsibility'

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Washington Examiner| May 21, 2019 By John Gage Retired Gen. Martin Dempsey slammed President Trump for his plan to pardon several military members charged with war crimes. “Absent evidence of innocence or injustice the wholesale pardon of US service members accused of war crimes signals our troops and allies that we don’t take the Law of Armed…

4Jan, 2016

Retired General Officer Optimistic About Future

Thursday, March 21, 2019

RedstoneRocket | March 20, 2019 By Wendy Reeves During times of political and economic turmoil, retired Gen. Martin Dempsey offered hope when he spoke at the University of Alabama in Huntsville’s Distinguished Lecture Series. “Fear is such a powerful, powerful emotion,” Dempsey told a crowd of about 250 business and community leaders at the UAH…

“My recent experience suggests that the future will belong to those who remain grounded in values and yet adaptable in their thinking. I look forward to contributing to the development of future generations of leaders who come to Duke to be challenged and to make a difference.”
- General Martin Dempsey, 2016-2021 Rubenstein Fellow

“Gen. Dempsey has held a key leadership role at a time when American national security has grown to include every traditional challenge and many new ones as well. Few people alive know as much about the risks of the global world and are as thoughtful about their implications.”

Richard H. Brodhead

President