Allison Abandons Government Post

Dillon Professor of Government Graham T. Allison '62, citing frustration with the bureaucratic "swirl" of the Pentagon, will leave the Clinton Administration and return to teaching at the Kennedy School of Government.

Allison, who was on leave from Harvard to serve as assistant secretary of defense for policy and plans, will resign effective March 15, the Defense Department announced Wednesday. He will continue as a consultant to Secretary of Defense William Parry.

Allison, a foreign policy expert specializing in the former Soviet Union at the Kennedy school, was brought to the Pentagon last year by then-Secretary of Defense Les Aspin.


"I'm proud of what's been accomplished, but the swirl [in the Defense Department] has led me to conclude that I can better accomplish things from an independent perch on the outside at Harvard," Allison told The Crimson yesterday.

Allison said he will continue consulting for Perry much as he did for Caspar W. Weinberger '38, secretary of defense under former President Ronald Reagan. Allison said he would return to teaching next fall.


In his resignation letter Allison wrote, "I have shared with you the frustration of the swirl that has kept the Office of the Under Secretary for Policy from being effective. I have, therefore, concluded that I can have, therefore, concluded that I can best serve the agenda to which you and I are both committed by resigning."

In a letter dated Tuesday, Perry accepted the resignation with "deep regret,"commending Allison for making a "decisivedifference" on issues dealing with the formerSoviet Union.

Assistant Defense Secretary for Planning andProliferation Ashton B. Carter, another KennedySchool professor working in the Pentagon, saidAllison has had a significant impact on yearlyforeign policy.

Graham has made a very great difference in theClinton Administration's policy toward the statesof the former Soviet Union. His influence will bemissed," said Carter, the Ford FoundationProfessor of Science and International Affairs.

"I will miss him very, very much personally,"Carter added. "I think the ideas he brought tobear in areas of defense contacts with states ofthe former Soviet Union will continue to guide theadministration after he is gone."

While defense officials lamented Allison'sdeparture, Kennedy School Dean Albert Carnesalesaid in a statement that he was looking forward toAllison's return.

"Graham Allison is an outstanding scholar,teacher, and collegue," Carnesale said. "Theknowledge and insight from his recent experiencein government make him all the more valuable as amember of our faculty. We are eager to have himback with us."

Allison, himself a former dean of the KennedySchool, concluded his resignation letter, "I hopethat from that distance I can help you see theforest as well as the trees."

Allison's letter said he was particularly proudof helping establish a Russian strategicpartnership, an agreement with Ukraine toeliminate nuclear weapons and "thickmilitary-and-defense relationship" with Russia,Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

In a telephone interview, Allison said he hopedto be able to continue his work on the Ukraine andother former Soviet states, as well as on broadissues involving post-Cold War American security.

Allison's brief tenure at the Pentagon began ona rocky note, his original nomination appeared injeopardy for a time when a July 8 report by theInspector General accused Allison of two ethicsviolations.

One instance involved the hiring of KennedySchool Lecturer in Public Policy Robert D.Blackwill, a colleague of Allison's, as a DefenseDepartment consultant. The other was a request ofvisiting Russian officials to support a KennedySchool sponsored program