CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Ambassador Robert Oakley was the guest speaker during a II Marine Expeditionary Force officer professional military education lecture at the Paradise Point Officer's Club here recently.
Oakley, who retired from the State Department in 1991 after 34 years of diplomatic service, spoke to the Marine officers on the lessons learned by the State Department during his term in office.
"Many times when a new administration comes in, everything the former administration had planned is scrapped," Oakley told those in attendance. "Good plans are sometimes lost that way."
Based off lessons learned in Somalia, Lebanon and the Balkans, Oakley told the Marines that he felt the success of the United States in Afghanistan will be based on the personal relationships established between our Marines and Special Forces on the ground and the Afghan government and military.
"It's hard to develop a relationship with a pilot who is flying at 15,000 feet dropping bombs," Oakley emphasized.
Oakley, a retired career foreign service officer, served as the ambassador to Pakistan, Zaire and Somalia; Coordinator for Counterterrorism; Assistant to Vice President for Middle East and South Asia on National Security Council staff and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Affairs. He also worked for both Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton as Special Envoy to Somalia.
The former ambassador is currently on staff at the National Defense University as a Distinguished Fellow and is the Director - Peacekeeping Operations for the Institute of National Strategic Studies.