Home Newsroom Faculty News SPP Community Saddened Over Passing of Former Faculty Member and CIA Director Stansfield Turner

SPP Community Saddened Over Passing of Former Faculty Member and CIA Director Stansfield Turner

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of beloved former faculty member and CIA director Stansfield Turner on January 18. 
 
Admiral Turner was a Rhodes scholar and a 33-year Navy veteran, serving in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. He previously served as the president of the Naval War College and Commander-in-Chief of NATO’s southern European forces. He was appointed as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency by President Jimmy Carter in 1977.
 
After retiring from the agency, Turner became a writer, lecturer, TV commentator and educator. He spent time writing and lecturing on the CIA and American national security. Turner taught at Yale University and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He also taught at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy for many years, starting in the 1990s.
 
While at the School of Public Policy, Turner taught PUAF 722: Terrorism and Democracy. The course gave students an understanding of how our government makes decisions to deal with crises, specifically looking at how it selects the best options available to deter terrorists or deal with acts of terrorism that occur.
 
Turner played a significant role in strategic education, both civil and military. His curriculum during his time at the Naval War College stressed the ethical and historical education of senior officers. At SPP, he insisted that public servants and experts be trained along similar lines. 
 
“At CISSM, his writings and lectures consistently stressed the responsibility of civil leaders for defense and for the control of violence used in their name. Few did it better,” says Catherine M. Kelleher, College Park professor at UMD. “We in this perilous time in civil military relations will miss him sorely.”
 
Turner is survived by his wife, Marion Weiss Turner; son Geoffrey Turner; daughter Laurel Turner Armbrister; stepsons Peter Weiss, Andrew Weiss and John Gilbert; stepdaughter Laila Ballon; 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
 
We welcome you to share your reflections and remembrances of Stansfield. 
 
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Comments

I recall Stan commenting on his trip as a private citizen with his wife acorss the length of the Soviet Union via the Trans-Siberian Railway not long after the end of his Directorship of the CIA. He expressed amazement of the poverty he saw and noted that the CIA had never told him about that.

I first met Admiral Turner in 1977, early in my career at NSA.  At that point and for years later, it was always clear that he had very defined views about how NSA should maintain its "lane in the road" as a collection agency, and leave analysis to others.  We had many opportunities to agree to disagree on that.  But as our paths crossed over the years, finally here at Maryland, one thing never changed: He was always gracious and engaging.  And he always enjoyed spirited discussion.  In every interaction I was pleased to have with him over the years, he embodied the ideal of the officer and gentleman. 

Stan was a kind and gracious colleague, and a strong booster of our School.  We hosted events celebrating more than one of his books on strategy.  And students liked his courses very much.  One day in the mid-1990s, I drove to work listening to NPR, and heard Stan's 70th birthday celebrated among those of other notables.  When I remarked on this at a faculty meeting, Stan replied that it was "better than the alternative."A fine man!  He will be missed.

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