Former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft dies aged 95

US foreign policy figures offer tributes to ‘very definition of a public servant' and 'a principled person who had no use for partisanship'

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Friday 07 August 2020 23:28 BST
Former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, 21 January, 2015
Former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, 21 January, 2015 (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Tributes are being paid to former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft who has died at the age of 95.

Lieutenant General Scowcroft was NSA for both Gerald Ford and George HW Bush — he is the only person to have had the job twice.

He accompanied Richard Nixon on his visit to China, oversaw the evacuation of Saigon, the response to the collapse of European communism, and the crackdown in Tiananmen Square. After Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait he directed strategy during the 1991 Gulf War. Later he was a leading Republican critic of policy towards Iraq, before and after the 2003 invasion, fearing the implications for US alliances in the region.

In 2008 he assisted with the formation of president Barack Obama’s national security team, and in 2016 he endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.

President Bush presented Scowcroft with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honour, in 1991, and in 1993 he was awarded an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II.

Robert O’Brien, president Trump’s NSA, said in a statement: “I admired General Scowcroft long before I came to hold this office, and my appreciation for his skill, dignity, and wisdom has only grown in the time I have been privileged to serve as national security advisor to president Trump. My goal since taking office has been to follow the ‘Scowcroft Model’ for president Trump’s NSC.”

The ‘Scowcroft Model’ has been defined as being an ‘honest broker’, running a fair, transparent, and inclusive process for bringing issues to the president; maintaining the confidence of your national security colleagues; keeping a low public profile, operating largely off stage; and giving advice privately to the president.

Former secretaries of state offered their tributes.

John Kerry called General Scowcroft “a giant — a principled person who had no use for partisanship”. Condoleezza Rice said he was “the very definition of a public servant” and a “role model”; and Madeleine Albright called him a “brilliant thinker” and a “treasured friend”.

Susan Rice, former NSA to President Obama, tweeted: “Brent Scowcroft was kind, wise, generous, and brilliant. The gold standard for national security advisers, a valued mentor and peerless public servant.”

President George W Bush said in a statement: "This patriot had a long career of distinguished service to our country … He was an especially important advisor to my father – and an important friend.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in