General Martin Dempsey

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General Martin Dempsey

18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

As a Rubenstein Fellow, General Dempsey is teaching 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 will deepen his existing ties to the Duke Program on American Grand Strategy, the Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics (COLE) and Duke Athletics, and speak to student, faculty, and alumni groups.


General Martin E. Dempsey recently retired 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

Retired Gen. Martin Dempsey Elected USA Basketball Chairman

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

International Basketball Federation | November 15, 2016 USA Basketball has elected retired General Martin E. Dempsey, the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as their new chairman. “I am excited to join USA Basketball and to become part of a legacy of excellence both on and off the court,” Dempsey said in a…

4Jan, 2016

Why We Stand for the Flag: Gen. Dempsey

Monday, September 19, 2016

USA Today | September 18, 2016 By Gen. Martin E. Dempsey In the course of everyday life, there are very few opportunities for the people of the United States to come together, pause and reflect on the hope that is only possible with freedom and democracy. Our national anthem is a statement of respect for this hope, not a…

4Jan, 2016

Retired General Martin Dempsey Emphasizes Importance of Religion in Developing Moral Values

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Chronicle | September 9, 2016 By Frances Beroset  Photo by Sanjeev Dasgupta | The ChronicleMartin Dempsey discussed maintaining his faith in a war environment and the changing face of American military Thursday night.Martin Dempsey, retired United States army general and 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke about his experiences in the military Thursday evening. The talk, sponsored by the Duke Catholic Center, was titled “Faith in Geopolitics: A Personal Experience.” Dempsey told stories about his time…