The Fifteenth Hugh J. Clausen Lecture in Leadership: Leadership in High Profile Cases

AuthorThomas W. Taylor
PositionAssumed his current position, teaching graduate students at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy, upon retiring in June 2006 as the senior career civilian attorney in the Department of the Army
This is an edited transcript of a lecture delivered by Professor Thomas W. Taylor to
members of the staff and faculty, their distinguished guests, and officers attending the
58th Judge Advocate Officer Graduate Course at The Judge Advocate General’s School,
Charlottesville, Virginia, on 12 May 2010. The Clausen Lecture is named in honor of
Major General Hugh J. Clausen, who served as The Judge Advocate General, U.S. Army,
from 1981 to 1985 and spent over thirty years in the U.S. Army before retiring in 1985.
His distinguished military career included assignments as the Executive Officer of The
Judge Advocate General; Staff Judge Advocate, III Corps and Fort Hood, Texas;
Commander, U.S. Army Legal Services Agency and Chief Judge, U.S. Army Court of
Military Review; The Assistant Judge Advocate General; and, finally, The Judge
Advocate General (TJAG). On his retirement from active duty, General Clausen served
for a number of years as the Vice President for Administration and Secretary to the Board
of Visitors at Clemson University.
Professor Taylor assumed his current position, teaching graduate students at Duke
University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, upon retiring in June 2006 as the senior
career civilian attorney in the Department of the Army. He served as the senior leader of
the Army legal community during extended transition periods between successive
political appointees. Professor Taylor provided legal and policy advice to seven
Secretaries and seven Chiefs of Staff of the Army. During his twenty-seven years in the
Pentagon, Professor Taylor addressed a wide variety of operational, personnel, and
intelligence issues, including military support to civil authorities following the attacks on
11 September 2001, and during disaster relief operations.
Professor Taylor received a B.A. in history with high honors from Guilford College,
Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1966, and a J.D. with honors in 1969 from the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Fellow and a member of the
North Carolina Law Review and the Order of the Coif. He was the Distinguished
Graduate (first in class) of the Graduate Legal Course, The Judge Advocate General’s
School, in 1979, and graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1987.
Professor Taylor began his legal career as an Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps
(JAG Corps) officer, trying criminal cases in Alaska and Germany, before serving as an
Associate Professor in the Law Department of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point,
where he was promoted to Major. His first Pentagon assignment was in The Judge
Advocate General’s Administrative Law Division before he joined the Office of the
General Counsel, where he was promoted to lieutenant colonel before leaving active duty
in 1982 to accept a civilian position in that office. He served in successive positions of
greater responsibility following his appointment in the Senior Executive Service in 1987.
Meanwhile, as a Reserve colonel during annual training, he served as the Academic
Department Director of The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School until he
retired from the U.S. Army Reserve. He has lectured at law schools and professional
conferences throughout his career and published law review notes and articles.
Professor Taylor served as the senior legal official of the Army during various
transition periods since the Reagan Administration, including a one-year period during
the Bush and Clinton Administrations. Upon his retirement, he received the National
I. Introduction
At the outset, it is an honor and privilege to be here this morning in
Charlottesville. This event commemorates the career and contributions
of Major General Hugh J. Clausen, The Judge Advocate General of the
Army from 1981 to 1985. The first lecture in this series was given to the
43d Judge Advocate Officer Graduate Course and the 136th Judge
Advocate Officer Basic Course on 22 February 1995, for the dedication
of the Hugh J. Clausen Academic Chair of Leadership. Since that time,
speakers invited to give this lecture have come from various backgrounds
and positions, but all of us share a common respect and admiration for
General Clausen and his enormous and lasting contributions to the Army
legal community.
I am grateful to your commander, Brigadier General Miller, and to
your Dean, Colonel Burrell, for their invitation to speak today, and
especially grateful to the Deputy Judge Advocate General, Major
General Tate, for suggesting today’s topic of providing leadership and
advice in high profile cases. General Tate recommended that I provide
you some practical advice based on my years in the Pentagon handling
high profile cases, rather than a more theoretical lecture about leadership.
I am honored that Lieutenant General Chipman, The Judge Advocate
General of the Army, drove down from Washington to be with us today.
I would like to provide special recognition and thanks to Major General
(retired) Altenburg for his presence this morning; John and I were
classmates in the 27th Graduate Course, where we formed a life-long
personal and professional friendship. He was my battle buddy in the
Pentagon during his years serving in the position now known as the
Deputy Judge Advocate General. I would also like to thank my long
time friends and colleagues, John Sanderson and David Graham, for their
intellectual and leadership contributions to the Army and The Judge
Advocate General’s Legal Center and School over many years. I am
Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the Department of Defense Medal for
Distinguished Civilian Service, and his fourth award of the Army’s Decoration for
Exceptional Civilian Service. He also received four Presidential Rank Awards under
three different Presidents, as well as numerous military decorations, including the Legion
of Merit. He is a consultant to the General Counsel of the Army and an active participant
in national security matters. At Duke, graduating students have elected him twice as their
faculty speaker for Masters in Public Policy hooding ceremonies, and his faculty
colleagues have elected him to serve on both the Academic Council of Duke University
and the Executive Committee to the Dean of the Sanford School. He chairs the Sanford
School of Public Policy Honor Board and received Sanford’s outstanding teacher-mentor
award for graduate students in 2009.

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