Charles G. Boyd

China, Europe, National Security

General Charles G. Boyd, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), is the Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Center for the National Interest. He was President and Chief Executive Officer of Business Executives for National Security (BENS) from 2002 to 2010, and now serves on its Advisory Board as President Emeritus. Before joining BENS, he served as Senior Vice President and Washington Program Director of the Council on Foreign Relations.

General Boyd was commissioned through the Aviation Cadet Program in July 1960 and retired in 1995 after 36 years of service. A combat pilot in Vietnam, he was shot down on his 105th mission and survived 2,488 days as a prisoner of war. The only POW from that war to achieve the four-star rank, General Boyd’s final military assignment was as Deputy Commander in Chief of U.S. forces in Europe. His other assignments as a General Officer include Vice Commander of Strategic Air Command’s 8th Air Force, Director of Plans at Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Washington, D.C., and Commander of Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. He is a pilot with more than 4,000 flight hours.

Following his retirement from active duty, he served as the Director, 21st Century International Legislators Project for the Congressional Institute, Inc. and strategy consultant to then Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. In July 1998 he became Executive Director of the Hart-Rudman National Security Commission, the most comprehensive review of the national security structure and processes since 1947. The Commission foresaw the growing terrorist threat to the United States well before the September 11, 2001 attacks and advocated priority attention be devoted to homeland security.

His military decorations include the Air Force Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star with combat “V” and two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Purple Heart with two oak leaf clusters.

General Boyd is a native of Iowa. He is a graduate of the University of Kansas and the Air War College, as well as the Program for Senior Executives in National and International Security at Harvard University.

General Boyd is married to Dr. Jessica Tuchman Mathews. He has a daughter and a son.