The State Department announced last week that
Secretary Condoleezza Rice has asked SAIS Professor
Eliot Cohen to serve as her counselor.
Cohen will be on leave of absence for at least one
year from SAIS, where he is the Robert E. Osgood Professor
of Strategic Studies, director of the Strategic Studies Program and director of
the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies.
In a message sent Friday to Strategic Studies
students, Cohen wrote, "It is an honor to be asked to serve
one's country at any time, but particularly during wartime.
I hope I can do some good. I definitely know that I will
take to the State Department a stock of knowledge and
inspiration that has come from my years spent dealing with
you, and with those who came before you, and for that I
shall always be deeply grateful."
Dean Jessica P. Einhorn said, "Professor Cohen is the
greatest of mentors to scores of his students who choose
public service. While we will all surely miss him at SAIS,
we honor and support his decision to give counsel to
Secretary Rice and colleagues, who are engaging in the
important work of our time."
The State Department's Web site describes the
counselor as "a principal officer who serves the Secretary
as a special advisor and consultant on major problems of
foreign policy and who provides guidance to the appropriate
bureaus with respect to such matters. The Counselor
conducts special international negotiations and
consultations, and also undertakes special assignments from
time to time, as directed by the Secretary."
Cohen, who joined SAIS in July 1990, holds a doctorate
in political science from Harvard and is the author of
numerous books and articles. His most recent book is
Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen and Wartime
Leadership (2002), which won the inaugural Huntington
Prize, administered by the John M. Olin Institute for
Strategic Studies at Harvard.
He formerly taught at Harvard and the U.S. Naval War
College, served on the policy planning staff of the
secretary of defense and directed the U.S. Air Force's Gulf
War Air Power Survey. He is a member of the Defense Policy
Board and other governmental and private advisory
Cohen will begin spending much of his time at the
State Department immediately and is expected to assume the
post officially in April, when he finishes his classroom
Tom Keaney will serve as acting director of the
Strategic Studies program in Cohen's absence.