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David Passage served thirty-three years in the Foreign Service, retiring in September 1998. He joined the State Department in 1966 and served overseas in Great Britain, South Vietnam, Ecuador, Australia, El Salvador and Botswana as well as AID/CORDS in Vietnam, as Political Adviser to the Commander of the US Special Operations Command, at MacDill AFB FL, and on the National Security Council, at the White House.

At the State Department, he served in the Operations Center, on the Secretariat Staff, as special assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Politico-Military Affairs, and was recalled from Ecuador in 1976 to serve as special assistant to Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.

In mid-1979, he was director of the Press Office and Associate, and then Acting, Spokesman for the State Department during the Iran hostage crisis. Following a year at the National War College, he became deputy director of Southern African Affairs, then Deputy Chief of Mission/Charge d'Affaires in San Salvador at the height of that country’s civil war (1984-86). He returned to Washington in 1986 to become director of Regional African Affairs and was detailed to the White House in 1989 to become Director for Africa on the National Security Council staff. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush appointed him U.S. Ambassador to Botswana. In August 1993, he was named Political Advisor to the Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida and returned to Washington in 1996 as Director of Andean Affairs in the Department’s Latin America bureau, with overall responsibility for coordinating US policy toward Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, including, importantly, laying the groundwork for US participation in “Plan Colombia”. He retired from the Foreign Service in September 1998.

In retirement, Ambassador Passage lectured at the National Defense University, senior war colleges and command and staff colleges, the Joint Forces Staff College, the Joint Special Operations University, USAF Special Operations School, and mentored military exercises. In May 1998, Ambassador Passage was honored with the General James H. Doolittle “Educator of the Year” Award for his lectures at the USAF Special Operations School. In September 2005, he delivered the General Graves B. Erskine Distinguished Lecture at the Marine Corps University. He is a Senior Fellow and lecturer at the Joint Forces Staff College and Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Joint Special Operations University.

Among his many published works are “The Search for Legitimate Partners in the New International Security Environment’ in Managing Contemporary Conflict (Westview/Harper Collins, 1996); “Challenges and Opportunities in Latin America” in Roles and Missions of SOF in the Aftermath of the Cold War (Tufts/Fletcher, 1995); “Africa: New Realities and U.S. Policy’, in Small Wars and Insurgencies (Frank Cass, London, 1996); numerous articles on El Salvador’s civil war, Latin America, and Africa in Special Warfare; “The U.S. and Colombia: Untying the Gordian Knot”, published by the U.S. Army War College Institute of Strategic Studies in March 2000; “Caution: Iraq is not Vietnam” in the Foreign Service Journal, November 2007; “Time to Rethink our Global Command Structure” (about AFRICOM and SOUTHCOM) in of 1/31/09; and “Reflections on Psychological Operations: the Need to Engage a Conflicted Population” in Ideas as Weapons published by Potomac Press, 2009.

Ambassador Passage was born in Charlotte NC. He was a Centennial Scholar at the University of Denver, receiving his BA in 1964, and received an MS in International Financial Economics from Georgetown University in 1966.

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