BENS Eisenhower Award

BENS honors Ash Carter and Robert Belfer with the 2016 Eisenhower Award.

On April 28th, BENS presented its 2016 Eisenhower Award to two distinguished leaders in U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter and longtime philanthropist and business executive Robert A. Belfer. The Eisenhower Award is presented every year to extraordinary leaders who embody President Eisenhower’s definition of security as, “…the total product of our economic, intellectual, moral and military strength.” 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. 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.

Over 550 industry and security leaders from all over the nation attended the exclusive event in Washington, D.C. honoring these two remarkable individuals. The evening also provided recognition for Petty Officer First Class Wayne Papalski. The Navy’s only board-certified Critical Care Flight Paramedic, Papalski has served multiple tours overseas and has earned the military’s Air Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his lifesaving rescue operations while at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington. The Navy and Marine Corps Medal is the highest non-combat award for valor and was bestowed for his actions on November 15, 2014 when he rescued an injured skier on Mount Shuksan in the face of subzero temperatures and a deluge of freezing rain.


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 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, 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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