Karl Eikenberry is the Payne Distinguished Lecturer at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Within FSI he is an affiliated faculty member with the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) and the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), and an affiliated researcher with the Europe Center. Before coming to Stanford, he served as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan from May 2009 to July 2011, where he led the civilian side of the surge directed by President Obama to reverse Taliban momentum and help set the conditions for transition to full Afghan sovereignty.
Prior to his appointment as Chief of Mission in Kabul, Ambassador Eikenberry had a 35-year career with the U.S. Army, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant General in 2009. His operational posts include service in the continental U.S., Hawaii, Korea, Italy, and Afghanistan, where he served as Commander of the American-led Coalition Forces from 2005-2007.
Ambassador Eikenberry also served in various political-military positions, including service as Deputy Chairman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Military Committee in Brussels.
His military awards include the Defense Distinguished and Superior Service Medals, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Ranger Tab, Combat and Expert Infantryman badges, and master parachutist wings. He has received numerous civilian awards as well.
Amb. Eikenberry is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, holds master's degrees from Harvard University in East Asian Studies and Stanford University in Political Science, and was a National Security Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
He is a trustee of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Council of American Ambassadors. He recently received the George F. Kennan Award for Distinguished Public Service from the National Committee on American Foreign Policy. He has published numerous articles on U.S. military training, tactics, and strategy and on Chinese military history and Asia-Pacific security issues.