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.
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.
ABC News| June 7, 2020By Benjamin Siegel The president’s “inflammatory language” and threats to use military troops to respond to the George Floyd protests across the country this week have strained Americans’ relationship with the U.S. military, retired Gen. Martin Dempsey on Sunday warned. “My generation of military leaders, who entered right after the Vietnam War, spent the majority…
NPR Morning Edition| June 4, 2020 By Steve Inskeep In rare public comments, the former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Ret. Gen. Martin Dempsey condemned Trump’s threat to use military force to suppress nationwide protests as “dangerous” and “very troubling,” in an interview with NPR on Thursday. “The idea that the president would take charge…
NBA.com | May 28, 2020By Brian Martin Gen. Martin E. Dempsey concluded his 41 years of military service in 2015, spending the final four years as the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he served as the top military adviser to President Barack Obama. He now teaches leadership and public policy as…
“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