Karl Eikenberry

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Lieutenant General
Karl W. Eikenberry
MSC
U.S. Lieutnent General and Ambassador.jpg
Ambassador Eikenberry at Stanford University in 2011
United States Ambassador to Afghanistan
In office
April 29, 2009 – July 25, 2011
President Barack Obama
Preceded by William Braucher Wood
Succeeded by Ryan Crocker
Personal details
Born 1951 (age 62–63)
Spouse(s) Ching Eikenberry[1]
Alma mater United States Military Academy (B.S.)
Harvard University (M.A.)
Stanford University (M.A.)
Military service
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
Battles/wars War in Afghanistan

Karl Winfrid Eikenberry (born 1951)[2] is a retired United States Army lieutenant general and former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan. He is currently the Frank E. and Arthur W. Payne Distinguished Lecturer at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Eikenberry was born in 1951 and graduated from Goldsboro High School in Goldsboro, North Carolina, in 1969[4] and then attended West Point, where he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant upon graduation in 1973.[5]

He received an M.A. in East Asian Studies from Harvard University, where he would later return as a National Security Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He also earned an M.A. in political science from Stanford University,[6] where he was also a Ph.D. candidate.[7] In addition, Eikenberry has studied in Hong Kong at the UK Ministry of Defence Chinese Language School, earning the Foreign Office's Interpreter’s Certificate for Mandarin Chinese, and Nanjing University, earning an advanced degree in Chinese history.[6]

Military career[edit]

Eikenberry meets with Robert Gates at Bagram in January 2007.

In the Army, Eikenberry commanded the 2nd Battalion of the 87th Infantry Regiment (Light) in the 10th Mountain Division, and commanded and held staff positions in airborne, ranger, and mechanized infantry units in the United States, Korea, and Europe. He also served as an assistant Army attache in the American Embassy in the People's Republic of China, and then as division chief with the Strategy, Plans and Policy Directorate of the United States Department of the Army Staff in Washington, D.C.[7]

Eikenberry served two tours of duty in the war in Afghanistan.[8] His first tour in Afghanistan, from September 2002 to September 2003, he filled two positions—his primary duty was as the U.S. Security Coordinator for Afghanistan and the second position was the Chief of the Office of Military Cooperation-Afghanistan (OMC-A). As the Security Coordinator he worked closely with Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Pakistan Lakhdar Brahimi to forge a unified international effort to build a cohesive security sector.

Security sector reform (SSR) followed a lead-nation approach agreed upon in January 2002, in which the G8 nations would each lead a specific sector—the United States reformed the Afghan National Army; Germany, the Afghan Police; UK, counter-narcotics; Italy, judicial reform; and Japan and the United Nations took on the task of disarming, demobilizing, and reintegrating the militias.[9] In his role as Chief of the OMC-A he was the chief architect of the strategy that built and fielded the first Afghan Army Corps.

During his second tour he was Commander of the Combined Forces Command for 18 months, leaving in 2007 to become the Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee.[6]

Ambassador[edit]

Ambassador Eikenberry meeting with General Stanley McChrystal and President Obama in the Oval Office.

On January 29, 2009, the New York Times reported that President Barack Obama had chosen Eikenberry to be the next U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, replacing William Braucher Wood. The choice of a career army officer for the sensitive post was described by The Times as "highly unusual". On April 3, 2009, the Senate confirmed Eikenberry's nomination, and on April 29, 2009, he was sworn in as the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan.[8] The official announcement of his nomination was made on March 11.[10] Following his confirmation as ambassador, he retired from the U.S. military with the rank of Lieutenant General on April 28, 2009.

Leak of classified cables[edit]

In November 2009, Eikenberry sent two classified cables to his superiors in which he assessed the proposed U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. A description of the content of the cables was leaked soon after. In January 2010, the New York Times obtained and published the cables,[11] which "show just how strongly the current ambassador feels about President Hamid Karzai and the Afghan government, the state of its military, and the chances that a troop buildup will actually hurt the war effort by making the Karzai government too dependent on the United States".[12] In June 2010, General McChrystal was described in a Rolling Stone profile as feeling blindsided by Eikenberry's statements in the leaked cables. On the other hand, Eikenberry is described elsewhere as being frank and vocal about his concerns about the Karzai government as being a reliable or unreliable partner for the United States in its efforts in Afghanistan.[13]

Academic career[edit]

After his position as ambassador in Afghanistan, Eikenberry became the Payne Distinguished Lecturer at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University.[1]

Writings[edit]

Awards and decorations[edit]

Personal decorations and badges[edit]

Eikenberry's personal decorations include:[6]

U.S. military decorations
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Distinguished Service Medal (with OLC)
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Superior Service Medal (with OLC)
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit (with OLC)
Bronze Star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Meritorious Service Medal (with OLC)
Silver oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal (with 5 OLC)
Joint Service Commendation ribbon.svg Joint Service Commendation Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Commendation Medal (with 4 OLC)
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Achievement Medal (with OLC)
U.S. unit awards
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Joint Meritorious Unit Award (with 2 OLC)
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Superior Unit Award (with OLC)
U.S. non-military decorations
Superior Honor Award.svg State Department Superior Honor Award
DoS MHA.JPG State Department Meritorious Honor Award
U.S. service (campaign) medals and service and training ribbons
Bronze star
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal (with 2 Service Stars)
Bronze star
Bronze star
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (with 2 Service Stars)
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Korea Defense Service ribbon.svg Korea Defense Service Medal
Humanitarian Service ribbon.svg Humanitarian Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon.svg Army Service Ribbon
Award numeral 1.pngAward numeral 3.png Army Overseas Service Ribbon (with award numeral 13)
U.S. badges, patches and tabs
Combat Infantry Badge.svg Combat Infantryman Badge
Expert Infantry Badge.svg Expert Infantryman Badge
Master Parachutist badge (United States).svg Master Parachutist Badge (United States)
Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge.png Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge
United States Army Staff Identification Badge.png Army Staff Identification Badge
Ranger Tab.svg Ranger Tab
Central Command insignia.jpg U.S. Central Command Shoulder Sleeve Insignia (United States Army) – Former War Time Service (SSI-FWTS).
CFC-A SSI-FWTS.jpg Combined Forces Command - Afghanistan Shoulder Sleeve Insignia (United States Army) – Former War Time Service (SSI-FWTS).
ArmyOSB.jpg 5 Overseas Service Bars

Foreign military and civil decorations[edit]

Non-U.S. service medals and ribbons[edit]

Foreign badges[edit]

Other[edit]

In August 2007 Eikenberry was given the key to the city of Goldsboro, North Carolina by the mayor.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Weaser, Natasha (June 7, 2012). "Karl Eikenberry: On Afghanistan, China and life at Stanford". The Stanford Daily. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "Freeman Spogli Institute". Karl Eikenberry. 
  4. ^ Sousa, Greg (2007-08-22). "Hometown general visits" (Paid subscription required). Goldsboro News-Argus. Retrieved 2010-06-23. 
  5. ^ "Karl Eikenberry". Classmates. Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Deputy Chairman of the Military Committee: Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry". NATO. Retrieved 2010-06-23. 
  7. ^ a b "About the Author". Institute for National Strategic Studies. Retrieved 2009-02-01. [dead link]
  8. ^ a b Schmitt, Eric (2009-01-29). "Obama Taps a General as the Envoy to Kabul". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-06-23. 
  9. ^ Fatima Ayub; Sari Kouvo and Rachel Wareham (April 2009). "Security Sector Reform in Afghanistan". IFP Security Cluster Case Study. International Center for Transitional Justice. p. 9. 
  10. ^ Mason, Jeff (2009-03-11). "Obama picks U.S. ambassadors to Iraq, Afghanistan". Reuters. Reuters. Retrieved 2010-06-23. 
  11. ^ Eikenberry, Karl (2010-01-25). "Ambassador Eikenberry's Cables on U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-06-23. 
  12. ^ Eric Schmitt (January 25, 2010). "U.S. Envoy’s Cables Show Worries on Afghan Plans". New York Times. Retrieved June 24, 2010. 
  13. ^ see Obama's Wars by Bob Woodward, 2010, Simon and Schuster, especially Chapter 18 (pp. 212-221), about internal discussions in the White House about what path to pursue in Afghanistan.
  14. ^ Czech Republic Military Awards and Decorations
  15. ^ Myers, Aness (2007-08-21). "Eight homes in city's sights" (Paid subscription required). Goldsboro News-Argus. Retrieved 2010-06-23. 

External links[edit]

Interviews[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
David Barno
Commander, Combined Forces Command - Afghanistan
2005–2007
Succeeded by
David D. McKiernan
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
William Braucher Wood
U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan
2009–2011
Succeeded by
Ryan Crocker