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SPP Community Saddened Over Passing of Former Faculty Member and CIA Director Stansfield Turner

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Stansfield Turner

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of beloved former faculty member and CIA director Stansfield Turner on January 18. 

Admiral Turner was a Rhodes scholar and a 33-year Navy veteran, serving in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. He previously served as the president of the Naval War College and Commander-in-Chief of NATO’s southern European forces. He was appointed as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency by President Jimmy Carter in 1977.

After retiring from the agency, Turner became a writer, lecturer, TV commentator and educator. He spent time writing and lecturing on the CIA and American national security. Turner taught at Yale University and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He also taught at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy for many years, starting in the 1990s.

While at the School of Public Policy, Turner taught PUAF 722: Terrorism and Democracy. The course gave students an understanding of how our government makes decisions to deal with crises, specifically looking at how it selects the best options available to deter terrorists or deal with acts of terrorism that occur.

Turner played a significant role in strategic education, both civil and military. His curriculum during his time at the Naval War College stressed the ethical and historical education of senior officers. At SPP, he insisted that public servants and experts be trained along similar lines. 

“At CISSM, his writings and lectures consistently stressed the responsibility of civil leaders for defense and for the control of violence used in their name. Few did it better,” says Catherine M. Kelleher, College Park professor at UMD. “We in this perilous time in civil military relations will miss him sorely.”

Turner is survived by his wife, Marion Weiss Turner; son Geoffrey Turner; daughter Laurel Turner Armbrister; stepsons Peter Weiss, Andrew Weiss and John Gilbert; stepdaughter Laila Ballon; 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.


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Megan Campbell
Director of Communications
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