Richard Armitage was the 13th United States Deputy Secretary of State, serving from 2001 to 2005. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War and then after the fall of Saigon moved to Washington D.C. to work as a consultant for the United States Department of Defense, which sent him to Tehran and Bangkok.
Throughout the late 70s and early 80s, Armitage worked as an aide and foreign policy advisor to politicians including Senator Bob Dole and President-elect Ronald Reagan. When Reagan was elected, Armitage was appointed to the Department of Defense. In the 1990s, Armitage worked in the private sector before being confirmed as Deputy Secretary of State with the election of George W. Bush in 2001. He left the post in 2005.
Armitage was educated at the United States Naval Academy. He is an avid bodybuilder, and speaks many languages, including Vietnamese.
What inspires your work?
Armitage: It never occurred to me not to. You know Yogi Berra says when you come to a fork in the road you take it, and that’s what I’ve done. I went to the Naval Academy to play football, not to be a naval officer. And then I graduated, and I found myself in the Vietnam War. Through people I’d met in Vietnam and after, I became acquainted with people who are working at high levels of government. And they, for whatever reason, remembered me. So one thing just led to another. I don’t think there was a grand plan other than by the Creator. I certainly didn’t have one. I get up each morning, and if I come to a fork in the road I take it.