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New Advisors Join WWICC - Press Conference 5/18/16

Date: May 18, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC -- New senior advisors for the U.S. World War 1 Centennial Commission were announced this week, in a media event at the National Press Club. These advisors included both Special Advisors and Diplomatic Advisors.

The announcement was introduced by the Commission's first Special Advisor, former Cabinet Secretary General Barry McCaffrey, who set the war in historical context. "There may never have been a more tragic, devastating conflict in the history of mankind, which was unnecessary, and with such huge consequences that they continue to this day".

The new Special Advisors include:

  • Secretary Leon Panetta, who previously served as Secretary of Defense, White House Chief of Staff, Director the the CIA, Director of the Office of Management & Budget, and U.S. Representative from the State of California.
  • Dr. Vint Cerf, technology pioneer, and one of the four recognized inventors of the Internet.
  • Commissioner Ray Kelly, longest-serving Police Commissioner for the New York City Police Department.
  • Helen Patton, the granddaughter of U.S. Army General George S. Patton.

The Board of Special Advisors consists of distinguished leaders who are dedicated to helping the Commission perform its missions. Special Advisors provide expert advice to the Commission, and serve without compensation.

Speaking at the event, Secretary Panetta expressed a need for the World War I Memorial "It's important that we take the time to remember the sacrifices of those men and women in uniform who dedicated themselves to this country".

At the podium, Dr. Cerf furthered that thought. "I'm interested in the online presence of this memorial, the ability to reach people who can't come, and our ability to give them an experience, and an understanding, of how powerful this conflict was."

Other national-level leaders who currently serve on the Board of Special Advisors include former U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Gordon Sullivan, actor/producer Gary Sinise, and a host of senior members of the business community, the entertainment industry, and the arts.

Also introduced at the event was Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, who represented the Centennial Commission's new Diplomatic Advisory Board. She said "Everything changed. The world changed, because of World War I. The role and status of women changed. It was the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. It was the beginning of the breaking down of old empires."

The Diplomatic Advisory Board provides expert advice to the Commission to enhance outreach as the Commission brings together new sponsors and partners for commemorative activities. These Board Members provide counsel, strategy and contacts in the countries where they served. The Board Members serve without compensation. Twelve other former U.S. Ambassadors serve on the Board along with Ambassador Moseley Braun.

Commission executive director Daniel Dayton welcomed Secretary Panetta to the Board of Special Advisors, "Secretary Panetta has led a very distinguished career of public service. As an Army veteran, an elected official, an agency head, and as a distinguished scholar, he has devoted his entire life to meeting the challenges that face our country. We welcome him, we thank him, and we look forward to working with him for the road ahead".

Moderator: Chris Isleib, Director of Public Affairs
U.S. World War One Centennial Commission


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