CAPTAIN LARRY SEAQUIST, U.S. NAVY (Ret.)
Larry Seaquist completed his very satisfying 32 year career in the Navy in 1994. Commissioned from Officer Candidate School in 1964 after enlisting in the Naval Reserve in 1962, his sea-going service included repeated command of warships. Ashore his service spanned a series of senior security strategy assignments in Washington.
Anything but "retired", Captain Seaquist is the founder and CEO of The Strategy Group, A Global Action Network of Professional Peacebuilders. Their work focuses on helping create locally-led conflict prevention and peacebuilding campaigns and encouraging international leaders to recognize that prevention is practical and that peacebuilding is real work. He also conducts applied strategy research projects funded by the Pentagon or private foundations centering on military professionalism counterproliferation, future warfare, and military modernization. He writes and speaks frequently on military topics such as shifting military strategy towards conflict prevention and on the professional ethics required of military officials in a democracy.
His early career was entirely at sea. After a first sea tour as assistant navigator in the cruiser USS Northampton (CC 1), he served in USS Damato (DD 871) as antisubmarine warfare officer (ASW), and in USS O'Hare (DD 889) as weapons officer, operating both in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf regions. Damato won the Fleet ASW award and O'Hare was awarded several battle efficiency "Es" for excellence in weaponry.
As a Lieutenant in 1969 he was selected as the first commanding officer of a new, jet engine-powered patrol gunboat, USS Beacon (PG 99). Commissioned in Boston after construction in Michigan, Beacon first joined the U.S. Pacific Fleet and then transferred to the Atlantic Fleet, winning battle efficiency "Es" in both. Following that two-year command tour and early promotion to Lieutenant Commander, he reported in 1971 to the Pentagon as aide and flag lieutenant to the admiral responsible for the surface Navy. Later appointed to the team which managed Navy's budget strategy, he was designated a proven subspecialist in systems analysis, designing new per-sonnel training strategies and overhauling Navy's ship maintenance strategy.
In 1976 he returned to sea in command of USS Bronstein (FF 1037) where he and his talented crew pioneered new long-range submarine hunting techniques using advanced acoustic sensors in the Pacific and the Far East. Bronstein won the battle efficiency "E" and the coveted Golden Anchor award for highest career retention in the fleet. After a two-year tour in command and promotion to Commander, he led the combat readiness staff on the Pacific surface force where he designed and implemented a radical overhaul of the fleet combat systems training architecture.
In 1981 he returned to sea for two years in command of USS David R Ray (DD 971), a new Spruance-class destroyer which operated in the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean and Western Pacific before being refitted in Seattle, Washington. Crewed by superstar sailors, David R Ray won the battle efficiency "E" and the Navy-wide award for antisubmarine helicopter operations. Promoted early to Captain and back in the Pentagon, he led Navy's Strategic Concepts Group, a hand-picked team of young strategists, where he helped shape maritime strategy during what was later called a renaissance in strategic thinking. During this tour of duty he also played a key role in devising an innovative form of war-prevention measures which could be pre-positioned to interrupt grave international crises and preclude major wars and nuclear exchanges.
In 1986 he returned to sea in command of battleship USS Iowa (BB 61), recently modernized and recommissioned after service in WWII and the Korean War. Iowa's crew of 1500 had been selected from top-drawer sailors and officers from all over the fleet. Iowa served as President Reagan's flagship in New York harbor during the July 4th, 1986 International Naval Review and rededication of the Statue of Liberty. After training operations with NATO in the North Atlantic and Norwegian Sea and in the Caribbean region, Iowa led the first modern battleship battlegroup into the Mediterranean Sea in 1987. Continuing on through the Suez canal, the Iowa battlegroup then operated for several months in the North Arabian Sea and Straits of Hormuz to provide protection to US-flagged tankers when the Iran-Iraq war spilled into the waters of the Persian Gulf. During these operations Iowa's crews systematically created modern 16" gunnery techniques, gunnery training methods, and gunnery safety procedures including the world's first use of TV-equipped drone aircraft for gunnery. Iowa won many awards include two battle efficiency "Es" and many other honors including an unprecedented "perfect" score in nuclear weapons safety.
In 1988, Captain Seaquist returned to the Pentagon as the Assistant Director of Strategy and Policy in the Joint Staff (J-5) where he oversaw the development of all U.S. military strategic plans including nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare defense planning and helped set in motion radically different planning mechanisms to enable the U.S. military to adjust to rapid changes in the international security climate.
In 1989, he was asked to join the Office of the Secretary of Defense in order to help create a group of new security policy and resource oversight organizations. As the Assistant to the Dep-uty Under Secretary of Defense for Policy he helped orchestrate a series of top-level strategy re-views which radically altered U.S. national security policy as the Cold War came to an end and the U.S. recognized that a "revolution in military affairs" required that military forces and opera-tions be transformed. He helped direct both the strategy for and the history of the Gulf War, he directed the multi-million dollar annual strategy research program, and he conceived and implemented the strategy of "counterproliferation" to modernize American responses to the growing international problem of nuclear, chemical, and biological capability proliferation. Throughout this period he worked closely with senior officers from each of the military services and with sen-ior officials from the White House, State Department, and Congress. He spoke frequently to citizen's groups on military policy and security strategy issues. In 1990 he served for nearly a year as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy Planning responsible for directing the work of a large staff of specialized policy and regional affairs analysts and research projects. From time to time he also served briefly as Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense.
His earlier career included two professional development sabbaticals: 1975-76 he was a Federal Executive Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC where he wrote a monograph on military resource allocation strategies and explored civilian executive and strategy-making methods. In 1983-84 he was selected for the Navy's Strategic Studies Group where he concentrated on strategies to manage regional conflicts short of war. This fellowship involved extensive travel in the Middle East and Europe plus an around-the-world executive development tour.
Captain Seaquist completed his career in the Office of Net Assessment, a famed in-house think tank in the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon, where he examined the changing nature of conflict and created new wargaming methods in order to engage the non-military organizations of the international community in new forms of military-civilian security strategies.
Captain Seaquist has lectured at the National War College, Naval War College, Army War College, and Air War College; he conducted military strategy seminars at Harvard, Stanford, George Washington, Georgetown, and American universities. He continues to conduct frequent seminars on U.S. security strategy and military policy for military and university audiences. He was cited as 2002 "adjunct teacher of the year" by the Foreign Service Institute, the education arm of the U.S. Department of State. He is the author of numerous articles on military strategy and information technology including a major article on the history of naval strategy in the Oxford Companion to American Military History. His article "Community War" published in the US Naval Institute Proceedings outlined the ongoing changes in the nature of conflict and the consequent imperative of developing new conflict prevention and peacebuilding strategies.
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