Former top US commander to examine military’s role in interventions

North­eastern Uni­ver­sity will host retired Gen. David D. McK­iernan, the former com­mander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, on Thursday, Sept. 20 for an engaging, candid dis­cus­sion with the uni­ver­sity com­mu­nity exam­ining the use of mil­i­tary in U.S. inter­ven­tions around the globe pre– and post-​​9/​11.

The event, enti­tled “U.S. Mil­i­tary Inter­ven­tions, Pre– and Post-​​9/​11” and co-​​sponsored by the Office of the Pres­i­dent and Col­lege of Social Sci­ences and Human­i­ties, will be held at 5 p.m. in the Raytheon Amphitheater.

“Gen­eral McKiernan’s career has been one of extra­or­di­nary expe­ri­ences and achieve­ments,” said Joseph E. Aoun, pres­i­dent of North­eastern Uni­ver­sity. “I am delighted that he is joining us to share his per­spec­tives on lead­er­ship and engage in a dis­cus­sion about issues of great national and global importance.”

McK­iernan, the former com­mander for the Inter­na­tional Secu­rity Assis­tance Force in Afghanistan, entered the Army in 1972 with an ROTC com­mis­sion and com­manded sol­diers at every rank from second lieu­tenant to four-​​star gen­eral. His dis­tin­guished 37-​​year U.S. Army career included ser­vice in the Gulf War, Korea, Europe and the Balkans, South­west Asia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

He led all ground forces into Iraq during Oper­a­tion Iraqi Freedom in 2002-​​03, removing Saddam Hus­sein and the Baath Party from power with a 160,000 joint and coali­tion for­ma­tion. In his final com­mand assign­ment in Afghanistan in 2008-​​09, he was respon­sible for more than 100,000 sol­diers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Spe­cial Forces in both a NATO ISAF (including 42 con­tributing nations) and U.S. Oper­a­tion Enduring Freedom role.

McK­iernan said he is eager to engage North­eastern stu­dents, fac­ulty and staff in a dis­cus­sion that will draw on his vast mil­i­tary expe­ri­ences and touch on some of the most impor­tant chal­lenges Amer­ican society faces now and in the future.

“It’s impor­tant that people with prac­tical expe­ri­ence in issues and chal­lenges around the world, par­tic­u­larly in the realm of national secu­rity, share that expe­ri­ence with others in an aca­d­emic envi­ron­ment such as this, and interact with young people who are shaping their own career paths and preparing to go out into this com­plex world,” McK­iernan said.

The wealth of prac­tical, real-​​world expe­ri­ence McK­iernan holds is at the core of the university’s sig­na­ture expe­ri­en­tial edu­ca­tion model, through which stu­dents work, study abroad and engage in research in 92 coun­tries worldwide.

Northeastern’s mis­sion includes sup­porting use-​​inspired research that solves global chal­lenges, par­tic­u­larly in the area of secu­rity, health and sus­tain­ability. The uni­ver­sity also has a long­standing com­mit­ment to sup­porting vet­erans and the ROTC.

The uni­ver­sity has hosted an ROTC pro­gram on campus since 1950, and at one time it was the largest com­pletely vol­un­teer ROTC unit in the country with about 2,800 cadets enrolled.

The event will mark McKiernan’s second visit to campus in the last year. In November 2011, he joined uni­ver­sity leaders at a Vet­erans Day cer­e­mony at the university’s Vet­erans Memo­rial to honor those who have served and pro­tected our country.

“I appre­ciate Pres­i­dent Aoun’s invi­ta­tion for me to return to North­eastern, and I look for­ward to a very open, candid dis­cus­sion,” McK­iernan said.

McK­iernan holds a master’s degree in public admin­is­tra­tion from Ship­pens­burg Col­lege, and an under­grad­uate degree in Euro­pean his­tory and an hon­orary doc­torate in public ser­vice from the Col­lege of William and Mary.