Richard Armitage was Deputy Secretary of State
of the United States
during the first term of George W Bush
's presidency. He is a large, bald former Navy SEAL
who can benchpress over 400 pounds, but his rotund, buck-toothed
, Uncle Fester
face makes him look oddly cherubic
He was born in 1945 and graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1967. As an ensign he was sent to Vietnam, first serving on an offshore destroyer before doing three tour of duties on a riverine patrol boat. In 1973 he discharged himself from the navy and joined the US Defence Attache's office in Saigon, where he later organised the removal of ARVN naval assets and personnel prior to the fall of South Vietnam.
Back in America he worked as a consultant at the Pentagon (which included a stint in Iran), administrative assistant to Senator Robert Dole and interim foreign policy advisor to Ronald Reagan. From 1981 until June 1983 Mr. Armitage was Deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia and Pacific Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He then became
Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs until 1989, where he developed US security policy in the Pacific, maintained bilateral security ties with Japan and China, and advised on issues relating to counter-terrorism, law of the sea and Middle East security.
Thereafter he became more of a roving troubleshooting diplomat as both a Presidential Special Negotiator and a private consultant. He was sent to the Philippines to discuss the lease of American military bases, to Jordan to negotiate with King Hussein during Desert Shield, and he organised humanitarian assistance to various newly independent states of the former Soviet Union throughout the 1990s.
He was appointed to the State Department when George W Bush was sworn in as President in 2001, and has focussed on security issues in the Pacific and South Asia.