John Lehman: Wikis


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John F. Lehman as Secretary of the Navy, 1982

John F. Lehman, Jr. (born September 14, 1942) is an American investment banker and writer who served as Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration and in 2003-4 was a member of the 9/11 Commission. He was also involved in the Project for the New American Century, that claimed the absence of a "catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor" in the document "Rebuilding America´s Defenses", which was released in September 2000.

Lehman currently serves on the National Security Advisory Council for the Center for Security Policy (CSP), and on the board of trustees for the think tank Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI). Lehman is also a member of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. He also served as an advisor to Sen. John McCain for the 2008 presidential race. [1][2]


Education and family

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he graduated from La Salle College High School and received a B.S. in international relations from St. Joseph's University in 1964, gained a B.A. and M.A. from Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge and went on to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

He is a first cousin, once removed, of the late Grace Kelly (Princess Grace of Monaco), and is Chairman of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, a public charity established after Princess Grace's death to support emerging artists in film, dance, and theater. He led the American delegation to the funeral of Prince Rainier. He and his family live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and Manhattan.

Military career

Lehman served in the Air Force Reserves for three years while at Cambridge, then in 1968 left the Reserves and joined the United States Navy Reserve as an ensign, later rising to the rank of commander. Lehman worked for UBS AG, then later was president of Abington Corporation, from 1977 to 1981, when he was appointed Secretary of the Navy. As the 65th Secretary, Lehman launched the idea of building a "600-ship Navy" and was unique in still serving as a Commander in the Naval Reserve while Secretary at the young age of forty. He developed a strategic concept to counter the threat of Soviet incursion into Western Europe known as the "Lehman Doctrine." The plan called for a military response to any Russian invasion in Europe by attacking and invading the Soviet Far East along the Pacific, a much less defended front. Forces would sever the trans Siberian railroad and fight westward toward Moscow.

According to Hedrick Smith, in his book The Power Game, Lehman, after losing a fight at the Pentagon with Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Thayer over lowering the number of aircraft carriers planned, played the Washington power game. He immediately went to the White House where they were unaware of Thayer's decision, then obtained a press release declaring President Reagan had named two of the ships USS Abraham Lincoln and USS George Washington, thereby endorsing the "600 ship fleet" and protecting Lehman. Lehman was important in the forced retirement of Admiral Hyman G. Rickover. Lehman resigned in 1987.

Later career

As of 2004, Lehman is chairman of the private equity investment firm J. F. Lehman and Company, as well as chairman of the controversial Hawaii Superferry. Lehman is chairman of the board of OAO Technology Solutions Inc. He is also an honorary member of the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry, the oldest military unit in continuous service to the Republic of the United States. As of 2005, he is a member of a number of influential conservative American thinktanks, including the Project for the New American Century, the Heritage Foundation, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Center for Security Policy, and the Committee on the Present Danger.

After his work in the 9/11 Commission in 2002, there was increased speculation that Lehman might be named to a chief security post within the Bush administration. Positions suggested included Director of Central Intelligence, Director of National Intelligence and Secretary of Defense (when Donald Rumsfeld stepped down). None of this speculation has proved accurate. He currently serves as Chairman of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA and as a director of the OpSail Foundation. He is also a member of the Board of Overseers of the School of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, and is a trustee of La Salle College High School.[1] Additionally, Lehman is an Advisory Board member for the Partnership for a Secure America, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to recreating the bipartisan center in American national security and foreign policy.


  • On Seas of Glory
  • Command of the Seas
  • Making War
  • America the Vulnerable
  • Fall From Glory: The Men who Sank the U.S. Navy, Gregory L. Vistica


External links

Government offices
Preceded by
Edward Hidalgo
United States Secretary of the Navy
February 5, 1981 - April 10, 1987
Succeeded by
James H. Webb


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

John Lehman (born 1942) was the United States Secretary of the Navy from 1981 to 1987 and a member of the 9-11 Commission.


  • "We are at a juncture today that really is more of a threshold, even more of a watershed, than the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was in 1941. We are currently in a war, but it is not a war on terrorism. In fact, that has been a great confusion, and the sooner we drop that term, the better. This would be like President Franklin Roosevelt saying in World War II, 'We are engaged in a war against kamikazes and blitzkrieg.' Like them, terrorism is a method, a tool, a weapon that has been used against us. And part of the reason we suffered such a horrific attack is that we were not prepared."
    • At the 130th Annual Meeting of the U.S. Naval Institute and Annapolis Naval History Symposium on 31 March 2004. [1], [2] (PFD)
  • "We were not prepared intellectually. Those of us in the national security field still carried the baggage of the Cold War. We thought in concepts of coalition warfare and the Warsaw Pact. When we thought of terrorism, we thought only of state-sponsored terrorism, which is why the immediate reaction of many in our government agencies after 9/11 was: Which state did it? Saddam, it must have been Saddam. We had failed to grasp, for a variety of reasons, the new phenomenon that had emerged in the world. This was not state-sponsored terrorism. This was religious war. .... This was the emergence of a transnational enemy driven by religious fervor and fanaticism. Our enemy is not terrorism. Our enemy is violent, Islamic fundamentalism."
    • Ibid.
  • "I’d like to say we have fixed these problems, but we haven’t. We have very real vulnerabilities. We have not diminished in any way the fervor and ideology of our enemy. .... Today, probably 50 or more states have schools that are teaching jihad, preaching, recruiting, and training. We have absolutely no successful programs even begun to remediate against those efforts. .... Nobody paid attention. Presidents in four administrations put their arms around Saudi ambassadors, ignored the Wahhabi jihadism, and said these are our eternal friends."
    • Ibid.
  • "Many will recall with pain what we went through in the Reagan administration in 1983, when the Marine barracks were bombed in Beirut—241 Marines and Navy corpsmen were killed. We immediately got an intercept from NSA [National Security Agency], a total smoking gun from the foreign ministry of Iran, ordering the murder of our Marines. Nothing was done to retaliate. Instead, we did exactly what the terrorists wanted us to do, which was to withdraw. Osama bin Laden has cited this as one of his dawning moments."
    • Ibid.


  • "Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat."
    • This quote is often misattributed to John Lehman, but it apparently was actually said by Donald Regan, President Reagan's chief of staff, to a 1987 Gridiron Dinner audience. [3]

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