A career dedicated to public service and balancing perspectives

Over the course of Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft’s career in public service, he developed a reputation as a source of balanced, bipartisan analysis that made him a sought-after voice on national security for commanders-in-chief of both parties.

“He would not try to run over the head of cabinet members, or cut them off from contact with the president, yet I also knew he would give me his own experienced views on whatever problem might arise,” President George H. W. Bush recalled of Scowcroft. 

In the early days of the Cold War, Scowcroft was a leading advocate for strong transatlantic cooperation as a means to preserve peace and security. When the Cold War abruptly ended in 1989, he made it his life’s work to preserve and advance that same system of international cooperation, democracy, and human dignity that unites the Atlantic community.

“I’m so proud of the work the Scowcroft Center accomplishes each day. The Council convinced me to lend my name to this effort, and I’m glad I did so as we are advancing our founding mission at another historic turning point.”

Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft USAF (ret.)

“The events were great. The hazards were deep,” said Scowcroft. “But we navigated the complexities to advance freedom and security, at a time when many others deemed it impossible. When looking back at the events of 1989—what we commemorate is an attitude more than anything specific. It was the values that won.”

The Atlantic Council in 2012 honored Scowcroft’s legacy by relaunching its flagship international security program as the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, recently re-envisioned as the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. The center is guided by Scowcroft’s vision of blending analysis of today’s challenges with long-term strategic thinking about how the United States’ role in the world interacts with historical forces, technological change, geography, and culture.

“In 1961, the Council’s founders—those ‘present at the creation’ of our international rules-based system, joined forces across party lines and among disparate organizations to form the Atlantic Council,” said Scowcroft. “They did so out of a need for sustained US engagement in the world and to develop an ambitious agenda for the Atlantic community. They succeeded. The Council convinced me to lend my own name to the effort by showing me how it would help carry forward that same mission at this similarly crucial moment in history. I’m so proud of the work it accomplishes each day.”