Former Congressman and Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Mac Thornberry was honored with the Ronald Reagan Peace Through Strength Award in December. Thornberry represented the 13th district of Texas for 26 years. The Ronald Reagan Center for Peace Through Strength promotes national security policy grounded in President Reagan’s philosophy that a strong American military is the best deterrent against aggression and safeguard for peace. The award honors those who advance that vision and has been presented to some of the Country’s most distinguished leaders and statesmen, including a vice president, secretaries of defense, secretaries of state, and members of Congress.
“(Thornberry) would always look beyond the horizon and strive to prepare America for threats to come,” Joe Lonsdale, Board Member, Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute; Co-Founder and Managing Partner, 8VC, said. “Our military is stronger, better equipped, better prepared, and our Country is safer thanks to the leadership of Mac Thornberry,” Lonsdale added.
Thornberry is widely respected as an innovator and a strategic thinker and has consistently been on the leading edge of critical national security issues. He led in creating the National Nuclear Security Administration to improve the management of the Nation’s nuclear weapons complex. He worked to help establish the Department of Homeland Security, introducing a bill to do so six months before the attacks of 9/11, preparing the military to defend the Nation in new domains of warfare such as space and cyber, and improving oversight of sensitive military and cyber operations.
During the ceremony, Thornberry said, “True strength rests upon a culture of service over self; with that culture, everything falls into place; without it, everything falls apart.” He noted that our adversaries are always looking for weaknesses and trying to exploit those weaknesses. Thornberry said, “It’s pretty clear that our greatest weaknesses these days are our internal division and polarization. Adversaries see that, and they’re trying to take advantage of it and even make it worse. Unfortunately, we give them too much help.”
Thornberry noted that while some see America's decline, he draws inspiration and hope from history and feels confident that examples from the past show that we can and will get our democracy back in order.
When asked about the award, Thornberry said, "I am tremendously honored by this award while knowing that whatever I have been able to accomplish has been because of the people I have been privileged to work with and because of the people I have been privileged to work for during my time in Congress. They know that nothing is more important than the security of the Nation and that security can only come from a position of strength."
Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Honorable Robert O. Work, who co-chaired the Reagan Institute’s inaugural Task Force in 2019, was also honored with the award.