America and the Sea Award

John F. Lehman: 2011

Former Navy Secretary, Historian and Author

Former Secretary of the Navy, historian, and author John F. Lehman was the recipient of the America and the Sea Award for 2011 by Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc. The award honors and celebrates those who embrace the scholarship, exploration, adventure, aesthetics, competition, and freedom the sea inspires.

Lehman received the award Tuesday, October 18, at a gala held in his honor in New York City.

The America and the Sea Award recognizes an individual or organization whose contributions to the history, arts, business, or sciences of the sea best exemplify the American character. Past recipients include oceanographer and explorer Sylvia Earle; historian David McCullough; legendary yacht designer Olin Stephens; president and CEO of Crowley Maritime Corporation, Thomas Crowley; and noted maritime collector William Koch.

“John Lehman’s contribution to national security policy, naval strategy, and maritime history make him a pivotal figure in the recent narrative of America’s interaction with the sea,” said Mystic Seaport President Stephen C. White. “The Museum is honored to present the secretary with this distinguished award.”

For more than 30 years, Lehman has been at the forefront of American naval policy. From 1981-1987, he served as Secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan. A champion of the “600-ship Navy,” he greatly expanded and refocused the role of the Navy in national defense strategy and developed the “Lehman Doctrine,” a two-front response to a Soviet invasion of Europe.

A noted author, Lehman has written several books on naval history and strategy including Command of the Seas, a memoir of his tenure as Navy Secretary, and On Seas of Glory, an accounting of key battles and events in the history of the U.S. Navy.

Lehman served as a staff member to Dr. Henry Kissinger on the National Security Council, as a delegate to the Force Reductions Negotiations in Vienna, and as deputy director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. He was a member of the National Commission on Terrorism Attacks on the United States, commonly known as the 9/11 commission. He served 25 years in the Naval Reserve and attained the rank of Captain.

Lehman is currently the chairman of J.F. Lehman & Company, a private equity investment firm. He is also on the corporate boards for Ball Corporation, Verisk Inc, EnerSys Corporation and Drew Marine. Lehman is a former investment banker with UBS, Paine Webber, and President of Abington Corporation.

Lehman serves as chairman of the Princess Grace Foundation U.S.A., a public charity established after Princess Grace’s death to foster and support emerging artists in film, dance, and theater. He is also a trustee of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a member of the Board of Overseers of the School of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.

Lehman received his B.A. from St. Joseph’s University, a B.A. and M.A. from Cambridge University, and a Ph. D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a staff member of the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He is currently a fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University.