The Council of Trustees of the Association of the United States Army awarded the 2012 George Catlett Marshall Medal to the Honorable James A. Baker III for his tireless dedication to the highest American ideals.
Secretary Baker graduated from Princeton in 1952 before joining the Marine Corps, where he served as an officer on active duty. Following his time in the Marines, Secretary Baker returned to his native Texas to earn a law degree from The University of Texas at Austin and later to begin a successful career as a lawyer.
In the 1970s, Secretary Baker grew increasingly active in politics and eventually became the only person to lead five presidential campaigns. In 1975, he was appointed President Gerald Ford’s undersecretary of commerce. He later became President Ronald Reagan’s White House chief of staff and secretary of the treasury, and served on the Economic Policy Council and National Security Council for that president. Under President George H. W. Bush, he served as secretary of state and White House chief of staff.
Since leaving government, Secretary Baker has continued to be active in public policy. In 1993 he became the founding chair of the James A. Baker III Institute of Public Policy at Rice University. Following the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Secretary Baker was tapped by President Bush to help negotiate debt restructuring with Iraq’s foreign creditor nations. A few years later he served as the co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group, which was tasked with finding a new approach to the difficulties facing coalition forces in Iraq. In 2008 Secretary Baker served as co-chair of the National War Powers Commission, which sought to create a process whereby the executive and legislative branches would better cooperate and consult with one another on issues involving U.S. entrance into armed conflicts.
Secretary Baker has received numerous awards for his distinguished governmental service, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States Military Academy’s Sylvanus Thayer Award, Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson Award, Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government Award, the Hans J. Morgenthau Award, the George F. Kennan Award and many other awards and honorary degrees.
In recognition of his dedication to our nation and decades of civil service at the highest levels of government, it is with profound admiration and sincere gratitude that the Association of the United States Army presented its highest award, the George Catlett Marshall Medal, to the Honorable James A. Baker III, on the 24th day of October, two thousand twelve.