Kenneth Lee Adelman
- Category : 1946-births
- Type : ME
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Rulership 2
American government official, appointed in January 1983 by President Reagan as Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, a nomination rejected by the Foreign Relations Committee, and barely approved by a 57-42 margin in the US Senate. Adelman had served in several government capacities, was a senior political scientist with the Stanford Research Institute, and authored a book, "African Realities." He also served in the United Nations as deputy permanent representative.
Kenneth Lee Adelman was the fourth of six children of an attorney and his wife, growing up in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood. He swam competitively as a high-school student, and continued the interest after he entered Grinnell College in Iowa. Before earning his B.A. degree in philosophy and religion in 1968 at Grinnell, he had become captain of the swimming team and set a conference record in the butterfly event.
After graduation, he went to Washington, D.C., and worked for the Department of Commerce from 1968-1970, while earning an M.A. degree in political science from Georgetown University in 1969. He joined the Office of Economic Opportunity in 1970 and served as special assistant to the director of Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) and as assistant to the director of congressional relations.
In the fall of 1972, he accompanied his wife to Zaire, as she was a public-health specialist for the State Department’s Agency for International Development (AID). Adelman served as chief liaison officer for the Zaire River expedition, and spent time doing research for his dissertation, "The Influence of Religion on National Integration in Zaire," which eventually earned him a Ph.D. degree in government from Georgetown University in 1975.
Adelman and his wife returned to the United States in the spring of 1975. After working briefly in AID’s congressional liaison office in Washington from 1975-1976, he became special assistant to Donald Rumsfeld, who had been appointed Secretary of Defense by President Gerald Ford.
In early 1977, Adelman left government service to become a senior political scientist with the Strategic Studies Center of the Stanford Research Institute in Arlington, Va., a defense-oriented think tank. Concurrently, he taught evening classes on Shakespeare at Georgetown University from 1977-1979.
In 1977, his article, "The Black Man’s Burden," appeared in the fall issue of "Foreign Affairs" and caught the attention of Richard Allen, who later became President Reagan’s national security adviser. Allen introduced Adelman to the inner circle that would come to play a significant role in the Reagan administration. When Reagan began his presidential campaign, Adelman appeared on his list of foreign-policy advisers.
Adelman served on Reagan’s transition team following the president’s victory in November 1980, and was offered posts as assistant secretary of state for Latin American affairs, as deputy director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and as a member of the staff of the National Security Council. However, he did not want a position in the administration, and returned to the Stanford Research Institute. He later changed his mind in April 1981 when Jeane Kirkpatrick, who had been one of his professors at Georgetown, asked him for the second time to be part of her United Nations team. Adelman became deputy permanent representative, with the rank of ambassador, but his relationship with Kirkpatrick became strained after he wrote an article for "Harper’s" in July 1981 critical of President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania.
In 1980, under the auspices of the Strategic Studies Center, Adelman published "African Realities," a book about the region’s meaning to American security and its place in East-West relations.
On 1/12/1983, Reagan nominated Adelman as director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. However, there was resistance to the appointment. Though he had a prolific output (over 100 magazine and newspaper articles), not much of his work dealt with arms control, and there were concerns about his commitment to arms control negotiations.
Adelman appeared before the Foreign Relations Committee on 1/27/1983, and his performance was not especially remarkable. On 2/24/1983, the Committee recommended that the Senate reject Adelman’s nomination, but did vote to allow the nomination to be brought before the full Senate. By the time the Senate took up the matter on 4/14/1983, there weren’t enough votes to block the nomination, and Reagan and others had lobbied strongly in Adelman’s behalf. His appointment passed, but marked only the seventh time in 24 years that forty or more senators had voted against a presidential nominee.
As ACDA director, Adelman put forth Reagan’s policies, occasionally stirring up controversy. In an article he wrote for "Foreign Affairs" in the winter of 1984-1985, he pointed out the difficulties in verifying compliance with terms of treaties: The timing of the article caused concern, appearing just a few weeks before Secretary of State George Shultz was meeting with the Soviets to discuss resuming arms limitation talks.
In recent years, Adelman has been a columnist and has written another book, "The Great Universal Embrace: Arms Summitry - A Skeptic’s Account" which chronicles his account of three separate US-Soviet summits.
In 2003, he supported the US invasion of Iraq, but distanced himself from it later. In 2008, he supported Obama in the presendtial election, as he was appaled by McCain's choice of Palin as vice president candidate.
He married Carol Craigle on 8/29/1971, and they have two daughters. Cocky and combative, friendly and gregarious, he is an acerbic advocate of conservative views. He has chronic eczema.