Thomas R. Pickering, Chair
In a diplomatic career spanning five decades, Thomas R. Pickering was U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Pickering also served on assignments in Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Pickering entered on active duty in the U.S. Navy from 1956-1959, and later served in the Naval Reserve to the grade of Lieutenant Commander. Between 1959 and 1961, he was assigned to the Bureau of Intelligence and Research of the U.S. Department of State and later to the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. From 1962-1964, Pickering served in Geneva as political adviser to the U.S. Delegation to the 18-Nation Disarmament Conference.
From 1973-1974, he served as Executive Secretary of the U.S. Department of State and Special Assistant to Secretaries of State William P. Rogers and Henry A. Kissinger. Between 1974 and 1978, Pickering acted as U.S. Ambassador to Jordan, and from 1978 -1981, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. He was U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria between 1981and1983, U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador between 1983 and 1985 during the Iran-Contra affair, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel between 1985 and1988. He won the Distinguished Presidential Award in 1983 and 1986, and from 1989 -1992 he was U.S. Ambassador and Representative to the United Nations in New York. In 1996, Pickering was awarded the U.S. Department of State's highest award – the Distinguished Service Award - he holds the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service.
In May 1997, Pickering was appointed U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, a position he held until December 2000, and where he played a critical role as Ambassador during the Persian Gulf War, helping to lead the UN Security Council's response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
Pickering served as U.S. Ambassador to India between 1992 and 1993, and then U.S. Ambassador to Russia between 1993 and 1996 before his appointment as U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, the number three position at the State Department, between 1997 and 2000.
Pickering joined Boeing upon his retirement in 2000. Before that he was briefly the President of the Eurasia Foundation, a Washington-based organization that makes small grants and loans in the states of the former Soviet Union. He served for five-and-a-half years as Senior Vice President for International Relations and a member of the Executive Council of The Boeing Company, where he was responsible for the company's relations with foreign governments and globalization. Since December 2006, Pickering has been Vice Chairman at Hills and Company which provides advice and counsel to a number of major U.S. enterprises.