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Laurence J. Kotlikoff

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My VP Pick: Former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Ret. Admiral Williams Owens

Posted: 03/ 5/2012 6:00 pm

As indicated in prior blogs and on www.kotlikoff2012.org, I'm running for president on the Americans Elect platform. (If you would like to support my candidacy, please check out www.americanselect.org.)

This is a serious endeavor, which is underscored by who I have chosen to be my running mate were I to secure AE's nomination.

My choice for vice president is Ret. Admiral Williams Owens -- a man of extraordinary depth, character, judgment, and intelligence who has made an enormous contribution to our country.

Admiral Owens grew up in North Dakota and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1962 with a bachelors degree in mathematics. A Rhodes Scholar, Admiral Owens earned bachelors and masters degrees in politics, philosophy, and economics from Oxford University, graduating with honors. He later earned a master's degree in management from George Washington University.

Admiral Owens began his career as a nuclear submariner. He served on four strategic nuclear powered submarines and three nuclear attack submarines, including tours as Commanding Officer aboard the USS Sam Houston and USS City of Corpus Christi. In total, Bill spent some 4,000 days (more than 10 years) aboard submarines, including duty in Vietnam.

In the late 1980s, Owens was a senior military assistant to Secretaries of Defense Frank Carlucci and Dick Cheney, and director of the Office of Program Appraisal for the Secretary of the Navy. From 1991 to 1993, Bill served as the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Resources, Warfare Requirements and Assessments.

Admiral Owens served as Commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet from 1990 to 1992, which includes Operation Desert Storm. In 1994, President Clinton appointed Admiral Owens to Vice Chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, the second-ranking military office in the United States.

Since retiring from the military in 1994, Admiral Owens has had a remarkable career in business, including serving as CEO of Nortel, as Chairman and CEO of AEA Holdings Asia, and Chairman of Century Link, one of our country's largest telecom companies.

But Admiral Owens has also set aside a major portion of his time to furthering our country's welfare. In journal articles, newspaper articles, public addresses, and in his 2000 book with Edward Offley, Lifting the Fog of War, Admiral Owens has provided a blue print for cost-effective reorganization of our military forces. He's also helped guide rethinking about our use of force around the globe. And he's worked tirelessly to improve relations between the U.S. and China by organizing the Summer Palace Dialogue that brings together high-ranking generals from the two countries.

Bill has agreed to my publicly naming him as my choice for VP and has indicated that if his family and business obligations permit, he will run with me were I to secure the nomination of Americans Elect. We have spent considerable time discussing domestic and foreign policy and hold very similar views. That said, Bill brings a world of specialized knowledge and expertise on foreign policy and defense policy to our team.

 

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