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Frank Pandolfe

Retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral, CEO of PAN Global Strategies, Senior Mentor at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute

Travels From:
Washington, D.C.
Fee Range:
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Vice Admiral Frank Pandolfe, U.S. Navy (retired) is an accomplished strategist, thought-leader, and change agent.  He is CEO of PAN Global Strategies, a consultancy specializing in strategic planning, risk assessment, and executive education.  He serves as a Senior Mentor at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute and is on the Board of Directors of Michael Baker International, a leading provider of engineering, development, intelligence and technology solutions with global reach and mobility.


Vice Admiral Pandolfe is CEO of Pan Global Strategies, a consultancy specializing in strategic planning, risk assessment, and executive education. He serves as a Senior Mentor at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute and is on the Board of Directors of Michael Baker International, a leading provider of engineering, development, intelligence and technology solutions with global reach. He also is on the Board of Directors of the Army Distaff Foundation at Knollwood in Washington, D.C. which provides housing and health care assistance to veterans and their families. Vice Admiral Pandolfe is polished public speaker who is represented by the Worldwide Speakers Group LLC.

Vice Admiral Pandolfe was a commissioned officer in the United States Navy for 37 years, serving in the White House, United Nations, Joint Staff, and Navy Staff. He traveled the world with the Secretary of State as Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, working to limit conflict and build partnerships. In that role, he advised our nation’s senior-most diplomats on issues ranging from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to deterring Russian aggression and improving relations with China.

Vice Admiral Pandolfe is one of our nation’s leading strategists. As Director for Strategic Plans and Policy on the Joint Staff, he advised the Secretary of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff on critical issues, including war strategy, crisis response planning, cyber and space policies, international technology transfers, and partner engagement. He was primary author of the 2015 National Military Strategy, which prescribes how to deter revisionist states while defeating revolutionary terrorist organizations.

At sea, Vice Admiral Pandolfe commanded a destroyer, destroyer squadron, aircraft carrier strike group, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, and the United States SIXTH Fleet. He deployed to the Middle East six times during his distinguished career. He commanded naval strike forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and helped design a comprehensive strategy to end piracy off the coast of Africa.

Ashore, Vice Admiral Pandolfe served as Military Aide and Advisor to the Vice President of the
United States. He also was Director for Surface Warfare for the U.S. Navy, defining the capabilities of ships, sensors, and weapons for the fleet.

Vice Admiral Pandolfe graduated with distinction from the United States Naval Academy and earned an M.A.L.D. and Ph.D. in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Speech Topics

Why are conflicts breaking out all over the world today?  What are the deep causes of on-going conflicts?  In this fascinating presentation, Vice Admiral Pandolfe (retired) shares his assessment of the major drivers of change in our world today.  Drawing upon a “bird’s eye” view of international hot spots gathered at the right hand of the Secretary of State and deep expertise in geopolitical strategic planning and risk assessments, Admiral Pandolfe guides the audience through an overview of profound change taking place around us.  He reviews and integrates (1) changes in global population growth, aging, and movement; (2) shifting patterns of economic globalization and the implications of changing demographics on economic development; (3) changes in access to water, food, and fuel as well as the advent of highly disruptive technologies impacting each of these areas; (4) the revolution of global connectivity and the cumulative effect of immediate, individualized access to limitless information; and (5) how all of these changes are driving political and ideological change within and between nations.  At the end of this presentation, audiences will have a fuller understanding of the macro-trends driving conflict – and inspiring hope – around the world today, providing them with a richer strategic perspective from which to make decisions impacting themselves, their businesses, and their communities.

It seems that every day brings fresh headlines highlighting the growing vulnerability of our society to new weapons, cyber-attacks, propaganda, and covert influence campaigns.  What are the implications of these changes and what should we do to make ourselves and our partners more secure?  In this talk, Vice Admiral Pandolfe (retired) reviews how profound and dangerous changes are expanding the dimensions of conflict. The physical reach of weapons has increased in range and number, rendering us increasingly exposed to long-range strikes, some of which could be armed with weapons of mass destruction.  Cyber systems are reaching deeper than ever before into our societies and, indeed, our homes, allowing adversaries to influence what we see and think.  Changing technologies are shaping the timelines by which conflicts unfold at the tactical and strategic levels.  And we are seeing a divergence of values contending for control of the future.  Admiral Pandolfe offers unique insights into the cumulative impact of such changes on international stability at the state and sub-state levels, and recommends ways to lessen our vulnerability and reduce the risk of conflict.  At the end of this clear, thought-provoking presentation, the audience will have a fresh framework within which to evaluate tomorrow’s headlines and an innovative construct by which to assess risk and organize planning.

Vice Admiral Pandolfe entered the United States Naval Academy in July of 1976.  It was our nation’s bicentennial year.  The tall ships assembled in New York harbor that summer caught the imagination of a nation that was ready to look forward to fresh beginnings, leaving behind the trauma of Vietnam.  Yet the next four decades were anything but peaceful.  Ahead lay the Iranian hostage crisis and the rise of Islamic extremism, the collapse of communism and the Soviet Union, the emergence of China as a world power of immense economic strength, the far-reaching impact of economic globalization and the communications revolution, and profound changes in science and technology.  Admiral Pandolfe was on the front lines of many of these changes, deploying six times to the Middle East, commanding naval forces in Europe and Africa, conducting research in Latin America, repeatedly visiting Asia to engage allies and partners, and responding to crisis in the Pentagon during the attack on 9/11.  Through it all, he witnessed inspiring leadership from the superb men and women around him.  In this talk, Admiral Pandolfe shares stories from his years of service, focusing on what he learned from others: the importance of generosity, teamwork, courage, dedication, service, friends and family, and an appreciation of beauty that surrounds us all every day.  At the end of this presentation, the audience will have a fuller appreciation of the attributes of true leaders and the timeless lessons of effective leadership, not from a book but from one man’s journey in service to our nation.

As lead author of the 2015 National Military Strategy and the Navy’s 2001 vision document “Sea Power 21”, as well as a key contributor to many other naval, joint, national, and international planning efforts, Vice Admiral Pandolfe (retired) has decades of experience in the world of strategic planning.  During this talk, he will review the evolution of U.S. military and naval strategy from the Second World War, through the Cold War and the Era of Globalization, to the current multi-polar world of status quo powers, revisionist states, and revolutionary actors.  He will show that, regardless of changing times, organizations, and technologies, the fundamentals of a successful strategic planning process remain unchanged.  At the end of this presentation, the audience will have a stronger appreciation for how strategies are designed and updated to reflect changing circumstances, how they most effectively can be implemented, and by what measures they may be evaluated for success.  As President Eisenhower said, “Planning is everything.”

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