BENS Eisenhower Award

To an audience of over 500 industry and national security leaders in New York City, BENS presented their 2016 Eisenhower Award to U. S. Air Force General John Hyten, former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, and Amazon.com and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos. Following the theme of the evening, the recipients remarked on the impact of American innovation and the role of public-private partnerships during a conversation moderated by talk show host and CBS’ This Morning co-anchor, Charlie Rose. General Hyten, Captain Kelly, and Mr. Bezos all stressed the importance of public-private collaboration for meeting American security and economic ambitions in space.


The Eisenhower Award annually recognizes public servants and private citizens who have made considerable contributions toward President Dwight Eisenhower’s holistic definition of national security, described as, “…the total product of our economic, intellectual, moral and military strength,” with this year marking the 30th anniversary of the Award.


The New York dinner, which was held at the American Museum of Natural History, was the second Eisenhower event in 2016. In April, BENS presented the award to U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter and longtime philanthropist and business executive Robert A. Belfer. Secretary Carter, who was sworn in as Secretary of Defense in February 2015, was honored for his long career in public service, which began in 1993. Mr. Belfer, who endowed the esteemed Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, was honored for his role in preparing generations of top national security leaders – including Secretary Carter who once served as director of the Belfer Center.

The BENS Eisenhower Award was first presented in 1986 on the 25th Anniversary of President Eisenhower’s Farewell Address. Both public servants and private citizens have been selected by members of the BENS Board of Directors to receive the Award. Past recipients have included President Jimmy Carter; Secretaries of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Condoleezza Rice; Secretaries of Defense Leon Panetta, Robert Gates, William Perry, and William Cohen; Senators Richard Lugar, Sam Nunn, Carl Levin, John McCain and John Warner; Generals James Jones, John Abizaid, Chuck Boyd and Michael Hayden; Admirals William McRaven, James Stavridis, and Eric Olson; as well as business leaders Kevin Plank, Tom Peters, Norm Augustine, Denis Bovin, Mary and David Boies, Fred Smith, Robert Rubin, Joe Regent, Josh Weston, and John Whitehead, among others.

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