By Ronald E. Neumann
Abstract: Ronald E. Neumann is president of the American Academy of Diplomacy. He was Ambassador to Algeria, Bahrain, and Afghanistan. While the subject is a central focus of the American Academy of Diplomacy, the views presented are personal and do not represent a position of the Academy. This article is adapted from a talk to the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, March 19, 2019.
Ambassador Ronald E. Neumann
Formerly a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Ronald E. Neumann served three times as Ambassador: to Algeria, Bahrain, and finally Afghanistan from July 2005 to April 2007. Before Afghanistan, Mr. Neumann, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, served in Baghdad from February 2004 with the Coalition Provisional Authority and then as Embassy Baghdad’s liaison with the Multinational Command, where he was deeply involved in coordinating the political part of military actions.
Prior to working in Iraq, he was Ambassador in Manama, Bahrain (2001-2004); Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Near East Affairs (1997-2000) with responsibility for North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula; and Ambassador to Algeria (1994-1997). He was Director of the Office of Northern Gulf Affairs (Iran and Iraq, 1991-1994). Earlier in his career, he was Deputy Chief of Mission in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and in Sanaa in Yemen; Principal Officer in Tabriz, Iran; and Economic/Commercial Officer in Dakar, Senegal. His previous Washington assignments include service as Jordan Desk officer, Staff Assistant in the Middle East (NEA) Bureau, and Political Officer in the Office of Southern European Affairs.
Ambassador Neumann is the author of a memoir, Three Embassies, Four Wars: A Personal Memoir (2017) and The Other War: Winning and Losing in Afghanistan (Potomac Press, 2009), a book on his time in Afghanistan. He has returned to Afghanistan repeatedly and is the author of a number of monographs, articles, and editorials. His writings have focused most heavily on Afghanistan, stabilization, and Bahrain. At the Academy, he has focused particularly on efforts to maintain adequate State and USAID budgets and staffing and upgrading professional formation to enable these institutions to carry out their responsibilities. Ambassador Neumann is on the Advisory Board of a nonprofit girls’ school in Afghanistan, the School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA) and the Advisory Board of Spirit of America. He is on the board of the Middle East Policy Council and the Advisory Council of the World Affairs Councils of America.
Ambassador Neumann speaks some Arabic and Dari as well as French. He received State Department Superior Honor Awards in 1993 and 1990. He was an Army infantry officer in Viet Nam and holds a Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, and Combat Infantry Badge. In Baghdad, he was awarded the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal. In 2018, he received the American Foreign Service Association’s award for Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy. He earned a BA in history and an MA in political science from the University of California at Riverside and is a graduate of the National War College. He is married to the former M. Elaine Grimm. They have two children.