Martin becomes NDU's President
July 17, 2012
By Jim Dresbach
The new president of the National Defense University, Maj. Gen. Gregg F. Martin, promised a university-wide "breakout" in higher learning and leadership into the next decade. While the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey presided, the NDU presidency was officially shifted from interim president Ambassador Nancy McEldowney to Martin in a Lincoln Hall ceremony at the university July 11.
"It is clear that General Gregg Martin is the right leader, at the right place, at the right time," the chairman summarized. "He understands what the nation needs from its leaders now, and he understands what we will need from our leaders in the future."
Dempsey set the theme for Martin's address by noting that July 11 was the 68th anniversary of Gen. Omar Bradley's initial development of Operation Cobra, a post-D-Day Allied breakout through France's hedgerow country during World War II. He challenged Martin and NDU instructors and students to set an educational trend.
"In the next chapter of the National Defense University, what I'm encouraging us to think about is a breakout of sorts based on the last 10 years of learning [from war] at great cost and also as we look to the security challenges we see and don't see on the horizon," Dempsey said. "I'm encouraging a kind of an intellectual breakout led by the National Defense University."
Martin responded by introducing the creation of Task Force NDU 2020 and he shared his vision for the future of NDU.
"This task force begins its work right now," Martin said. "This task force will relentlessly and rigorously scrutinize and access ourselves in terms of mission, purpose, function, process, organization and alignment both internally and externally. Once we complete this vital task, we will then develop a concept to recreate NDU. We want to take a blank canvas and create NDU for 2020."
Before Martin and Dempsey spoke, McEldowney, who returns to her university position as senior vice president, thanked those who assisted her during her three-month tenure as interim president. Introduced by Dempsey, who commented that being any type of acting administrator or leader is a tough task, McEldowney eloquently introduced her successor before the traditional passing of the colors.
"Today, we welcome another great leader, Major General Gregg Martin," the interim president said. "His broad experience and deep intellect are certain to take this university to even greater heights and success."
Martin is a 1979 graduate of West Point and is a career engineer officer who has served around the world in many capacities from a platoon leader to a commanding general. The new NDU president and his wife, Maggie, are the parents of three sons -- two of whom are current Soldiers.