John Poindexter

جان پویندکستر

ID:19951 Section: Person

Updated:Monday 13th October 2014

John Poindexter Definition

(Wikipedia) - John Poindexter For the American Civil War officer, see John A. Poindexter.
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John Poindexter 14th United States National Security Advisor President Preceded by Succeeded by Personal details Born Spouse(s) Children Alma mater Profession Military service Allegiance Service/branch Years of service Rank Commands Awards
In office December 4, 1985 – November 25, 1986
Ronald Reagan
Robert McFarlane
Frank Carlucci
John Marlan Poindexter (1936-08-12) August 12, 1936 (age 78) Odon, Indiana, U.S.
Linda Poindexter
5 sons, including Alan G. Poindexter
United States Naval Academy, BS (1958) Caltech, MS (1961), PhD (1964)
Military officer
 United States
 United States Navy
Rear Admiral Vice Admiral (temporary)
USS England Destroyer Squadron 31
Legion of Merit (2) Presidential Service Badge

John Marlan Poindexter (born August 12, 1936) is a retired United States naval officer and Department of Defense official. He was Deputy National Security Advisor and National Security Advisor for the Reagan administration. He was convicted in April 1990 of multiple felonies as a result of his actions in the Iran–Contra affair, but his convictions were reversed on appeal in 1991. More recently, he served a brief stint as the director of the DARPA Information Awareness Office for the George W. Bush administration. He is the father of NASA astronaut and U.S. Navy Captain Alan G. Poindexter.

  • 1 Early life and career
  • 2 Senior naval career
  • 3 U.S. Executive branch service
    • 3.1 Iran–Contra affair
  • 4 Defense contractor work
  • 5 Recall to public service
    • 5.1 Information Awareness Office
    • 5.2 Policy Analysis Market
  • 6 Family
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links
    • 8.1 Biographical links
    • 8.2 Iran–Contra links
    • 8.3 Total Information Awareness links

Early life and career

Poindexter was born in Washington, Indiana, the son of Ellen (Sommers) and Marlan G. Poindexter. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958, where he was first in his class, and among his fellow graduates were Bruce McCandless II who graduated second and Senator John McCain. National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane graduated the following year. From 1961 to 1964, Poindexter studied as a graduate student and earned his M.S. in 1961 and his Ph.D. in 1964 from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Nuclear Physics. For his PhD, he conducted laboratory research to further develop a model for understanding the Mössbauer effect with Nobel Laureate Rudolf Mössbauer.

Senior naval career
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While commander of a destroyer squadron, he was surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare commander of battle groups in the Western Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean, and he developed new tactics and battle management procedures under the Composite Warfare Commander concept. As the commanding officer of USS England, he pioneered the shipboard use of computers to manage the ship''s force portion of yard overhauls.

He was also an executive officer and a chief engineer of destroyers.

As Deputy Commander of the Naval Education and Training Command, his duties included commanding the United States Navy''s extensive education and training programs, for which he initiated a project to develop a distributed data management system for more efficient management of training pipelines.

His significant staff assignments included: Executive Assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations, Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy and Special Assistant for Systems Analysis to the Secretary of Defense. He reached the temporary rank of Vice Admiral but was allowed to retire in 1987 at the lower rank of Rear Admiral as a result of his role in the Iran–Contra affair.

U.S. Executive branch service

Poindexter went on to serve in the Reagan administration as Military Assistant, from 1981 to 1983, as Deputy National Security Advisor from 1983 to 1985, and as National Security Advisor from 1985 to 1986. From 1983 to 1985, Poindexter was responsible for leading and managing the National Security Council staff as chairman of the Crisis Pre-planning Group. As National Security Advisor, Vice Admiral Poindexter was responsible for providing recommendations to the President on national security, foreign policy and defense policy.

Major events in which he played a significant role for the executive branch included the Strategic Defense Initiative, Operation Urgent Fury, the Achille Lauro incident, Operation El Dorado Canyon (in response to Libyan terrorist attacks), the Reykjavík Summit with the Soviets.

Iran–Contra affair Main article: Iran–Contra affair

The Iran-Contra affair resulted from the discovery of the United States'' involvement in sending money and weapons to Iran for the release of American hostages from Lebanon, and sending aid to the Contras. This involvement was in violation of the Boland Amendment, which prevented the United States from directly or indirectly being involved with the Contras. Evidence revealed that Poindexter was a leader in the organization of the transfer of the weapons to Iran and oversaw other people involved in the affair, such as Oliver North.

Poindexter and North communicated through a channel, known as the "Private Blank Check," that Poindexter set up on a National Security Council (NSC) computer. Through this system, Poindexter and North were able to send messages back and forth without being intercepted by other NSC staff members. This system was not successful. Even though both Poindexter and North attempted to delete the messages, the White House Communications Agency was able to recover some of them, later used in trying Poindexter and North. On November 25, 1986, after the public disclosure of the Iran-Contra affair, Poindexter was forced to resign from his position as National Security Advisor,

Poindexter was convicted on April 7, 1990, of five counts of lying to Congress and obstructing the Congressional committees investigating the Iran-Contra Affair, which were investigating the Reagan Administration''s covert arms sales to Iran and the diversion of proceeds to insurgents fighting the Marxist Government in Nicaragua. The convictions were reversed in 1991 on appeal on the grounds that several witnesses against him had been influenced by his testimony before Congress, even though Congress had given him immunity for that testimony.

Defense contractor work

From 1988 to 1989, Poindexter was senior scientist at Presearch, Inc., which had primarily been involved with defense studies and analysis. Faced with anticipated defense budget reductions, Poindexter joined the firm to develop new commercial enterprises. He designed and developed hardware and software for the prototype of a digital real-time, imaging system to be used for physical security of high value facilities. It was used to obtain a contract for a nuclear power plant security system.

From 1990 to 1996, Poindexter served as co-founder of TP Systems, Inc., a software development firm specializing in commercial software for the IBM PCs and compatibles; Poindexter was the chief designer and programmer. Development included a symbolic debugger for multi-tasking environments, a BBS communications program, and numerous utility programs.

From 1993 to 1996, Poindexter served as a consultant to Elkins Group. Elkins was a business alliance with Electronic Data Systems (EDS), which has developed the Elkins Interactive Training Network (EITN), a satellite based training delivery system. Poindexter was the chairman of the Maritime Advisory Committee and a member of Elkins'' board of directors. He also provided advice on strategic planning.

From 1996 to 2002 Poindexter served as senior vice president for SYNTEK Technologies. SYNTEK is a small high technology firm with contracts in domestic and international defense and commercial business. Poindexter was responsible for high-level advice on management and direction of information systems projects (for example Defense Advanced Research Project Agency''s Project Genoa).

Currently he serves on the board of Saffron Technology Inc, which he joined in 2000, and Bright Planet Corporation, which he joined in 2007. With Saffron, Poindexter played a role in Iraq, building a tool to run entity analysis on insurgent networks in the struggle against IEDs.

After 2007 Poindexter branched out from National Security and worked to promote Associative Memory Base technology to civilian government agencies such as the IRS for fraud detection.

Recall to public service

Late in 2001, upon the recommendation of Science Applications International Corporation executive Brian Hicks, then Vice President Dick Cheney recommended Admiral Poindexter to head a separate anti-terrorist office and serve under US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Information Awareness Office Main article: Information Awareness Office

From January 2002 to August 2003, Poindexter served as the Director of the DARPA Information Awareness Office (IAO). The mission of the IAO was to imagine, develop, apply, integrate, demonstrate and transition information technologies, components, and prototype closed-loop information systems. This aimed to counter asymmetric threats (most notably, terrorist threats) by achieving total information awareness and thus aiding preemption; national security warning; and, national security decision making.

Policy Analysis Market Main article: Policy Analysis Market

Poindexter faced criticism from the media and some politicians about the Policy Analysis Market project, a theoretical prediction market that would have rewarded participants for accurately predicting geopolitical trends in the Middle East and elsewhere. This was portrayed in the media as allowing participants to profit from the assassination of heads of state and acts of terrorism due to such events being mentioned on illustrative sample screens showing the interface. The controversy over the proposed futures market led to a Congressional audit of the IAO in general. Funding for the IAO was subsequently cut and Poindexter retired from DARPA on August 12, 2003.


His wife, Linda Poindexter, was an Episcopal priest for 13 years, but retired from the clergy when she converted to Roman Catholicism. They have five children, including the late Alan G. Poindexter, a NASA astronaut, Space Shuttle pilot on the STS-122 mission to the International Space Station, and the commander of STS-131.

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