Brent Scowcroft, an architect of American foreign policy during the Cold War and national security adviser to Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, has died at 95. Scowcroft, a retired lieutenant general in the U.S. Air Force, advised seven presidential administrations during his long career.
“Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft passed away yesterday at the age of 95 of natural causes. Brent Scowcroft was an American patriot and public servant of the highest order with an extraordinary military and government service career spanning over 60 years,” a spokesperson for the family said in a statement on Friday.
Scowcroft served as a military aide to President Richard Nixon, and was chosen by Mr. Ford to serve as national security adviser after Mr. Nixon’s resignation. He oversaw the evacuation of American officials from Vietnam in 1975. Although he left the White House after President Jimmy Carter was elected, he advised the president on arms control and helped formulate the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty II between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in 1979.
During the Reagan administration, Scowcroft served on a commission to determine options for deploying MX missiles. And he was on another commission that investigated the Iran-Contra scandal.
Scowcroft was tapped by President George H.W. Bush in 1989 to serve again as national security adviser, where he helped develop U.S. foreign policy toward the recently collapsed Soviet Union. He also helped orchestrate Operation Desert Storm in 1991, the largely successful military conflict in the Persian Gulf. Mr. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work.
He was one of the few Republicans who challenged President George W. Bush’s decision to engage in another conflict in Iraq. In a 2002 op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Scowcroft wrote that “there is scant evidence to tie Saddam [Hussein] to terrorist organizations, and even less to the Sept. 11 attacks.” He had urged George H.W. Bush not to try to topple Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War and correctly predicted that doing so ten years later “would be very expensive — with serious consequences for the U.S. and global economy — and could as well be bloody.”
Scowcroft was well regarded by President Obama, and helped advise Mr. Obama in choosing his national security team. In 2016, Scowcroft publiclyHillary Clinton for president.
Scowcroft was born in Ogden, Utah, in 1925. He attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for his undergraduate degree, and later received his M.A. and Ph.D. in international relations from Columbia University.
In 1951, Scowcroft married Marian Horner, who died in 1995. He is survived by a daughter, Karen Scowcroft, and one granddaughter.