In Memoriam: James R. Schlesinger
Jim Schlesinger passed away on March 26 due to complications from pneumonia. In addition to a remarkable career in government that included service in three cabinet posts—Secretary of Defense, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and the first Secretary of Energy—Jim held a series of central roles at The National Interest and its parent institution, the Center for the National Interest. He was most recently Chairman of The National Interest’s Advisory Council and was earlier its Publisher for many years. The Center might not exist without him, as he was among a small group of informal advisors to former President Richard Nixon who recommended its creation in its prior incarnation as The Nixon Center. He was the first Chairman of the Center’s Executive Committee and was a member of the Board of Directors for two decades.
Schlesinger’s brand of high-minded realism—combining strategic thinking, pragmatism, and a commitment to America’s principles as a source of strength and leadership—continues as Center’s and The National Interest’s defining philosophy today. We will greatly miss him, and especially his penetrating analysis and wise counsel, which have been essential in our work. Nevertheless, Jim’s legacy will continue to shape everything that we do in trying to understand today’s uncertain world.