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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

George “Jay” Keyworth II

  • Hudson Institute:Adjunct Fellow
  • General Atomics, Inc.:Board member
  • Keyworth Company:Chairman
  • Progress and Freedom Foundation:Former Chairman and Senior Fellow

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George “Jay” Keyworth II, a nuclear physicist by training and President Ronald Reagan’s science advisor, is an adjunct fellow at the neoconservative Hudson Institute and a board member of General Atomics, a government contractor that touts itself as one of the “leading resources for high-technology systems ranging from the nuclear fuel cycle to electromagnetic systems, remotely operated surveillance aircraft, airborne sensors, and advanced electronic, wireless and laser technologies.”[1] He also chairs the Keyworth Company, which helps develop strategies for growth based on emerging and changing technologies.[2]

According to his Hudson bio, “from May 1981 to January 1986, Keyworth was Science Advisor to President Reagan and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. As the senior technical member of the President’s staff, he led the Administration’s efforts to capitalize on U.S. science and technology to strengthen industrial competitiveness, and was instrumental in establishing strong budgetary priorities for university basic research. … He was also deeply involved in Administration initiatives to use science and technology better to support U.S. foreign policy interests, especially with the People’s Republic of China.“[3]

He is best known for his role in modernizing U.S. strategic capabilities and for strongly supporting President Reagan’s “Star Wars” missile defense program, also known as the Strategic Defense Initiative. The program, which was widely discredited by arms control specialists, sought to create a space-based defense system to shield the United States from a nuclear missile attack.[4]

Journalist Mary Fallon provides this reflection of Keyworth’s role: “When interviewed by author Daniel Greenberg for the book Science, Money and Politics: Political Triumph and Ethical Erosion, Keyworth was quoted saying that government scientists at the weapons-designing Livermore National Laboratory had ‘lied’ in supporting the SDI, and that he had knowingly transmitted their ‘lies’ to the Reagan administration. Greenberg wrote: ‘Tell me a lie that Livermore has told, a big lie.’ Keyworth reportedly replied that ‘the whole argument for so-called third-generation nuclear weapons whose radiated energy could be focused into a directed-energy weapon, and used, for instance, as an SDI entity, was a pack of lies, unadulterated lies.’”[5]

According to his Hudson bio, before Keyworth joined the Reagan White House, “he was Director of the Physics Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory, leading programs in experimental physics, condensed matter research, astrophysics and space science, and laser fusion. He also oversaw Los Alamos’ diagnostic program of underground nuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site, as well as programs for satellite-based verification of compliance with nuclear test treaties.”[6]

His current interests focus on the digital revolution. Until it ceased operations in September 2010, Keyworth was chairman of the Progress & Freedom Foundation. In writing about the site’s demise, the National Journal’s Tech Daily Dose reported, “Many of the supporters listed on PFF’s website are among the nation’s top tech and telecom companies including AT&T, Comcast, Google, Intel, Microsoft, NBC Universal, Verizon and Yahoo. PFF often took the side of many of the firms in opposing, for example, the FTC’s antitrust lawsuit against Intel and by opposing efforts to impose network neutrality regulations.”[7]

In addition to his affiliation with the Hudson Institute, he is a former adviser to the Center for Security Policy, a hawkish “pro-Israel” advocacy outfit founded by former Reagan defense official Frank Gaffney. CSP believes that “We as a nation must also work to undermine the ideological foundations of totalitarianism and Islamist extremism with at least as much skill, discipline and tenacity as President Reagan employed against Communism to prevail in the Cold War.”[8]

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[1]General Atomics, “About,” http://www.ga.com/about.php.

[2]Hudson Institute, “George A. Keyworth, Biographical Highlights, “ http://www.hudson.org/learn/index.cfm?fuseaction=staff_bio&eid=KeyworthG.

[3]Hudson Institute, “George A. Keyworth, Biographical Highlights, “ http://www.hudson.org/learn/index.cfm?fuseaction=staff_bio&eid=KeyworthG.

[4]Keyworth quoted in a August 15, 1984 CBS interview in William Hartung, “Star Wars pork barrel,” Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, January 1986, http://books.google.com/books?id=owYAAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA20&lpg=PA20&dq=keyworth+star+wars&source=bl&ots=THM70XOkT1&sig=54XI4jiDWp5yLfDlhcebMvMX1Sk&hl=en&ei=IWFTTetPwfzwBq7FsaAK&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CDUQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=keyworth%20star%20wars&f=false.

[5]Mary Fallon, “Green Plug names Keyworth, ex HP director and Reagan science advisor, to its board, “ Demo, August 28, 2008, http://www.demo.com/community/?q=node/177458.

[6] Hudson Institute, “George A. Keyworth, Biographical Highlights, “ http://www.hudson.org/learn/index.cfm?fuseaction=staff_bio&eid=KeyworthG.

[7]Juliana Gruenwald , “Progress And Freedom Foundation Shuts Down,” National Journal, September 30, 2010, http://techdailydose.nationaljournal.com/2010/09/progress-and-freedom-foundatio.php.

[8]Center for Security Policy, “About Us,” http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/about_us.xml.

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George “Jay” Keyworth II Résumé


  • Hudson Institute: Adjunct Fellow
  • General Atomics, Inc.: Board member
  • Keyworth Company: Chairman
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory: Former division director
  • The Progress and Freedom Foundation: Former Chairman and Senior Fellow
  • Center for Security Policy: Former National Security Advisory Council Member
  • American Physical Society: Member
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science: Member



  • Los Alamos National Laboratory: Director of Physics Division 1968-1981
  • Office of the President: Science Advisor to Reagan: Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, 1981-1985
  • National Security Council’s Committee on Telecommunications Policy: Chairman, 1981-1985
  • President’s Commission on Industrial Competitiveness: Member, 1984



  • Hewlett Packard: Former Board Member, 1986-2006
  • Green Plug: Former Board Chairman
  • General Atomics: Member of Board of Directors, 1995-



  • Yale University: B.S., 1963 in physics
  • Duke University: Ph.D.,1968 in nuclear physics

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