Joseph Sestak, former congressman and retired U.S. Navy three-star admiral, has been named the 2013-14 General Omar N. Bradley Chair in Strategic Leadership. While in residence, he will conduct classes at Penn State University Dickinson School of Law and School of International Affairs, Dickinson College, and the U.S. Army War College.
Sestak’s distinguished 31-year career in the U.S. Navy included commanding the George Washington Aircraft Carrier Battle Group consisting of 30 ships during combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also served as President Bill Clinton’s director for defense policy on the National Security Council and oversaw the navy’s five-year, $350 billion warfare budget as deputy chief of naval operations. Sestak also served as the first director of “Deep Blue,” the navy’s counterterrorism unit.
Sestak served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for two terms, from 2007 to 2011, representing Pennsylvania’s 7th congressional district. He served on the Armed Services and Education and Labor committees and as vice chairman of the Small Business Committee. According to the Office of the House Historian, he is the highest-ranking military officer ever elected to Congress.
In 2010, Sestak won the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary with a victory over incumbent Senator Arlen Specter but lost his U.S. Senate bid to Republican Pat Toomey in the general election. Most recently, Sestak served as distinguished practice professor in the School of Public Policy & Management at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, where he taught ethical leadership and a policy practicum titled “Restoring the American Dream and Its Political Platform.”
He is the recipient of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legion of Merit awards, two Meritorious Service Medals, Joint Service Commendation Medal, three Navy Commendation Medals and the Navy Achievement Medal. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Sestak holds a master’s degree in public administration and a doctorate in political economy and government from Harvard University.
Named in memory of the World War II hero, the General Omar N. Bradley Chair in Strategic Leadership provides a visiting scholar the opportunity to explore with students and faculty the nature of leadership and how it can best and most ethically be exercised in a world transformed by globalization, technology and cultural change. The chair also seeks to enhance the study of leadership and encourage civilian-military dialogue; and contribute to the educational and research activities of the partner institutions.
A joint initiative among the U.S. Army War College, Dickinson College and Penn State University Dickinson School of Law and School of International Affairs, the General Omar N. Bradley Chair in Strategic Leadership has been held by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and journalist Rick Atkinson; Dr. Richard Kohn, a nationally recognized expert in the relationship between civilian leadership and the military officer corps; Navy Admiral Dennis Blair; and Phillip “P.J.” Crowley, former assistant secretary of state for public affairs.