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Dr. Richard D. Downie
Born November 12, 1954(1954-11-12) (age 67)
Place of birth New York
Service/branch United States United States Department of Defense
Years of service 2004–Present
Rank SESdisambiguation needed
Commands held Director, Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (NDU)
Spouse(s) Deborah Downie

Richard Downie, Ph.D., is the director of the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS) at the National Defense University in Washington, DC. He is regarded as an expert in Latin American security affairs and is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[1]

Background[edit | edit source]

Downie was born in Hempstead, New York but grew up in Southern California (Riverside). He attended high school at the Webb Schools in Claremont, CA.

Education[edit | edit source]

Dr. Downie graduated from the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1976. He earned his Masters of Arts Degree and Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Southern California. His research focused on organizational learning and counterinsurgency; his dissertation examined how militaries learn—or fail to learn—how to discard outmoded doctrine and enhance performance.[2] This work would later be published under the title Learning From Conflict, The U.S. Military in Vietnam, El Salvador, and the Drug War. Dr. Downie's Institutional Learning Cycle has been referenced in numerous publications including Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife.[3][4]

Military and government Service[edit | edit source]

During his service in the US Army, Downie held a series of both staff and command positions. He served as an Infantryman and later as a Latin American Foreign Area Officer. In 1985 Downie served as an exchange officer in Colombia, where he completed the Lancero (International Ranger) School as the distinguished graduate.[5][6] Downie worked at the U.S. Army South and the United States Southern Command in Panama; coordinated Western Hemisphere affairs on the U.S. Joint Staff; served with the Multinational Specialized Unit in Bosnia; and was the Defense and Army Attaché in Mexico.[7]

On January 17, 2001, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) opened its doors in Fort Benning, Georgia. Downie was the school's first Commandant in his final US Army command position.[8] In 2004, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, appointed Downie as the Director of the Center For Hemispheric Defense, which "conducts educational activities for civilians and the military in the Western Hemisphere to foster trust, mutual understanding, regional cooperation and partner capacity."[9]

Downie's military education includes the U.S. Army War College, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff Course and the Defense Strategy Course. He was also an Army Fellow in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Seminar XXI Program.[10] Downie is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.[11]

Downie holds a 1st degree Black Belt in the martial art of Hwa Rang Do.[12]

Awards[edit | edit source]

His numerous awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service and Army Commendation Medals, the Army Achievement Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Inter-American Defense Board Medal. He also has been decorated with a number of foreign awards, including the "Orden del Gran Caballero" (Colombia) “Orden de Mérito Académico” (Colombia), the Bosnia/Former Yugoslavia NATO Medal, the Order of Military Merit (Mexico), as well as the Order of the Peruvian Cross (Peru).[13]

Published work[edit | edit source]

Books[edit | edit source]

Articles[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

  • Professional Bio [1] at Center For Hemispheric Defense Studies (National Defense University)

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