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The 70th Annual Kermit Roosevelt Lecture: Leadership in an Uncertain World
Download the conference programme
General Robert 'Abe' Abrams assumed duties as the 22nd Commander of United States Army Forces Command, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in 2015. As Commander of the United States Army’s largest organization, he commands 229,000 active duty Soldiers, and provides training and readiness oversight of US Army National Guard and US Army Reserve units. In total, the Forces Command team includes 776,000 Soldiers and 96,000 Civilians.
An Armored Cavalryman, General Abrams earned his commission from the United States Military Academy in 1982. Following Armor officer qualification, he spent his formative years in a Divisional cavalry squadron with a mission on the East-West German border. He has commanded at every level from Company through Division, and led units in combat operations in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. General Abrams has extensive combined arms and joint experience. Duty with warfighting units include: 3rd Armored Division; 1st Cavalry Division (three tours); 3rd Infantry Division; and the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. He also commanded the Army’s National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.
His joint experience includes serving as a strategic war planner for the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; and as Director of the Joint Center of Excellence for Improvised Explosive Device Defeat. Prior to his current command, he was the Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. General Abrams holds a Master of Science from Central Michigan University, a Master of Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College, and has attended a wide variety of military schools.
The Kermit Roosevelt Lecture is an exchange of lecturers between the militaries of the United States and the United Kingdom, which first took place in 1947 and this year will be the 70th of the programme. The initiative for exchanges originated with Mrs Kermit Roosevelt, whose husband Kermit – the son of President Theodore Roosevelt – served in both the British Army and US Army across the two World Wars, and died while on active duty in 1943. Her ideas were set forth in correspondence to General George C Marshal dated 17 June 1944:
‘My husband, Kermit Roosevelt, . . . attempted to carry out in his own life his conviction that the development of a closer relationship between individual English and Americans, and a better understanding between the military forces of the United States and the United Kingdom would contribute in large measure to the preservation of world peace. In view of this conviction of his, it seems appropriate . . . to set up this Memorial.’
The exchange was originally funded by Mrs Roosevelt and through to 1969 by grants from the Rockefeller and McCormick Foundations. In 1970, it was mutually agreed that the series would continue officially supported by the governments of the United Kingdom and United States, and since then senior military officers have conducted annual exchanges, lecturing at several military and academic institutions on both sides of the Atlantic.
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