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April 5, 2012

Obituary: Paul Y. Hammond

Hammond,PaulRetired national security policy expert Paul Y. Hammond, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), died March 9, 2012, of complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was 83 and lived in his native state of Utah.

Hammond held a number of positions at the University beginning in 1976 when he joined the School of Engineering faculty as Edward R. Weidlein Professor of environmental and public policy studies. He was co-director of the Energy and Environment Center and of the Energy Policy Institute, 1979-81. In 1983, he was named Distinguished Service Professor at GSPIA, later serving as director of the school’s Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies, 1988-91. He retired with emeritus status in 2004.

Hammond earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Utah in 1949, and his master’s and doctoral degrees at Harvard in 1951 and 1953, respectively. In 1952-53, he studied at the London School of Economics on a Fulbright scholarship.

His first position in academia was as an instructor in government studies at Harvard, 1953-55, followed by a Forrestal fellowship in naval history at the U.S. Naval Academy, 1955-56. He was a lecturer in public law and government at Columbia, 1956-57, and was an assistant professor of political science at Yale, 1957-62. He was a research associate and Rockefeller fellow at Johns Hopkins University, 1962-64. In 1964 he began working at the Rand Corp. as a senior social scientist and later was named head of the social science department and program director for strategic studies and Asian studies, 1973-76. He also was a visiting research political scientist at the University of California-Berkeley, 1971-72.

Hammond was awarded a second Fulbright scholarship for study at Singapore National University, 1993-94.

Widely published on issues of international security and foreign policy, Hammond authored “Cold War and Detente: The American Foreign Policy Process Since 1945” and “Organizing for Defense: The American Military Establishment in the Twentieth Century,” as well as co-authoring four other security-related books.

In a series of scholarly works, he examined post-World War II planning in Germany, the creation of the post-war U.S. national security system, development of major weapons systems and the emergence of new military organizations, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, that embody both military and civilian objectives.

Beyond his scholarship on national security policy, Hammond contributed to the field of presidential studies, with a focus on how presidents employ congressional, domestic and bureaucratic politics to accomplish their objectives. His work in this area culminated in his book, “LBJ and the Management of Foreign Relations.”

As a consultant for many decades, Hammond cultivated strong ties to government, advising the U.S. departments of state, defense and energy as well as the Central Intelligence Agency on nuclear arms, conventional arms, disarmament and other national security policy options.

According to his son Brett, Hammond’s writings proposed a fundamentally different direction to cold war and foreign policy-making. Hammond’s special contribution was to challenge the dominant view that a country’s nuclear strategy and foreign policy could be understood as a single “rational actor’s” calculations. “Instead, pointing out the dangers this view poses for global and national security, he pioneered a more subtle understanding of how domestic politics and bureaucratic behavior shape a president’s and a country’s nuclear arms options and all other aspects of military and foreign policy,” the younger Hammond said.

Colleagues remembered Hammond as an outstanding scholar and inspiring mentor and role model who was gentle and patient in his approach.

GSPIA senior lecturer Dennis Gormley said, “I had the distinct pleasure of collaborating with Paul when he frequently came to Washington, D.C., to meet with policy officials in the 1990s. I then joined him on the GSPIA faculty in 2003 and experienced what a profound and lasting influence he had on so many students and faculty alike. Paul truly was a national treasure.”

Colleague and former GSPIA dean Carolyn Ban said, “Paul Hammond was a distinguished scholar, with a long career in which he made significant contributions to the fields of national security and organizational behavior. When I first came to GSPIA as dean, he was one of the people on whom I relied for thoughtful and sage advice. He was a person of rectitude, with strong ethical values, but not at all stuffy or pompous. Rather, his comments were always leavened by a dry wit. He and his wife were gracious hosts who loved to entertain.”

Ban continued, “Paul was also an avid skier, and it made me sad when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease that it meant he wouldn’t be able to achieve one of his life goals: In Utah people over 80 can ski for free.”

Current director of the Ridgway Center and professor Phil Williams, a longtime colleague and friend of Hammond’s, said: “Paul was a warm, gracious mentor with enormous integrity. He was very committed to his students. He was wise and had a sharp mind and was willing to share his critical thoughts, without ever being sharp himself in his comments to students.

“As a scholar he was first-rate,” Williams continued. “His analyses were not rigid but always had room for subtlety. He also never complained. Colleagues were always willing to listen to him, because his opinions mattered. He was dignified and he always stayed above the academic fray. He also had a low-key sense of humor.”

GSPIA professor Kevin Kearns commented, “All I can say is that Paul was the ultimate gentleman. I never heard him utter a negative word about anything or anyone, nor did he show even a hint of frustration or anger at any time. [He was] one of the most helpful and constructive colleagues we have ever had in GSPIA.”

In addition to his son Brett, Hammond is survived by his wife, the former Merylyn Felt Simmons; a brother, Seymour; children Wendy, Robyn Fearon, Spencer and Clifford, and seven grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the American Parkinson Disease Association.

—Peter Hart

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