In cooperation with
Virtual Panel Discussion
The Ultimate Case for American International Leadership – Now What?
with Lt. General Benjamin Freakley
and Ambassador Michael C. Polt
Thursday, May 7, 2020 | 12:00 pm-1:15 pm
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About Lt. General Benjamin C. Freakley
Lieutenant General Benjamin C. Freakley serves as the Professor of Practice of Leadership for Arizona State University and as a special advisor to ASU President Michael Crow for Leadership Initiatives. Additionally, he serves at the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. He recently retired from the U.S. Army after more than 36 years of active military service, and was serving as Commanding General, U.S. Army Accessions Command, at the time of his retirement.
General Freakley was responsible for worldwide recruiting for the Active Duty and Reserve components as well as overseeing the Nation’s Junior and College ROTC programs. As an infantry officer, General Freakley commanded at all levels through division and combined joint task force. His operations assignments began with 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Stewart, Georgia in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Saudi Arabia, first as the Executive Officer, 3rd Battalion-7th Infantry then as the S-3 (Operations), 1st Brigade. From March 2003 to June 2003, he served as Assistant Division Commander (Operations), 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq. From 2003 to 2006 he commanded the Army’s largest training institute, the Infantry Center and School at Fort Benning, Georgia. In January 2006, as the Commanding General of the 10th Mountain Division (Light) and Fort Drum he led the division in Afghanistan serving as the Commanding General Combined Joint Task Force-76, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, where he served until February 2007.
General Freakley’s awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star for Valor and ARCOM for Valor. He is an Eagle Scout and in 2010 was named the Education Policy Leader of the Year for the National Association for State Board Educators. He is married to the former Susan French of Woodstock, VA. They have five sons, four daughter-in-laws and seven grandchildren. Two sons are serving as Infantry Officers.
About Ambassador Michael C. Polt
Ambassador Polt joined the McCain Institute as Senior Director, after concluding his 35-year diplomatic career and following his most recent assignment as Ambassador to the Republic of Estonia. Ambassador Polt also served previously as U.S. Ambassador to Serbia and Montenegro. Prior to his ambassadorial missions, the Ambassador was Principal Deputy and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs in the Powell and Clinton State Departments. During his three decades as a career diplomat, Ambassador Polt served as U.S. Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Germany and Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge’ d’ Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland. He has also served as Senior Advisor to the Director General of the Foreign Service for Management Reform and was a key member of the Senior Management Steering Board directing the State Department’s 2003-2005 multi-million dollar reinvention of its Diplomatic Communications System. Ambassador Polt has held other senior positions in the Department of State, as Deputy Director for European Security and Arms Control issues, and in Panama City as Political Counselor of the U.S. Embassy during the time leading up to the U.S. military action against the Noriega regime in 1989. During his earlier career, Ambassador Polt was assigned to Embassies in Bonn, Mexico City, and Copenhagen, as well as the U.S. Consulate in Bremen, Germany. The Ambassador has been the repeated recipient of the Presidential Meritorious Service Award and numerous Department of State Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards for Outstanding Policy Leadership, Management, Crisis Performance, and Political Analysis. He has been awarded the Thomas Jefferson Award for Service to U.S. Citizens Overseas by American Citizens Abroad. Ambassador Polt was born in Austria.