Robert “Bud” McFarlane, National Security Advisor to President Reagan and military assistant to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger during the Nixon administration, passed away May 12, 2022, in Lansing, Mich. He was 84.
“Everyone at the Nixon Foundation is saddened by the loss of Bud McFarlane, a decorated Marine, brilliant geopolitical strategist and lifelong patriot,” said Jim Byron, President and CEO of the Richard Nixon Foundation. “Lt. Col. McFarlane was a student of the Nixon school of geopolitics. He made sure that these lessons lived on by never saying no to an invitation to speak at the Nixon Library, regularly –almost annually– gathering with college students to talk world affairs, or commemorating Veterans Day alongside his fellow Marines. It was an honor to have known him.”
McFarlane attended the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, graduating in 1959. He was the third member of his family to attend the Academy.
Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, McFarlane served as a field artillery officer and became a decorated Vietnam War combat veteran.
Following a second tour in Vietnam, McFarlane was named a Nixon White House Fellow in 1971. He was the first Marine Corps officer selected for the program.
Following his fellowship, he became military assistant to Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. In this post, McFarlane dealt with intelligence exchanges with China from 1973 to 1976.
As President Reagan’s National Security Advisor, McFarlane was integral in developing the Strategic Defense Initiative, which helped accelerate the fall of the Soviet Union.
In 2013, McFarlane joined a Nixon Foundation delegation in Beijing along with President Nixon’s Marine Aide Col. Jack Brennan, former Kissinger aide K.T. McFarland, and President Nixon’s grandson Christopher Nixon Cox to retrace the steps of the groundbreaking 1972 visit to China.
In remembrance of a true friend and patriot, we are sharing videos of some of Bud McFarlane’s many visits to Yorba Linda, and the key role he played to preserve and advance the legacy of President Nixon.