U.S. House of Representatives,
Washington, DC, May 10, 1995.
Dear Dan: I am sorry I am not able to join you this evening. However, I do not want my appreciation of your achievements to go unstated.
Your contributions to U.S. national security and the U.S. space program are exceptionally well known in Congress. As Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, your unflinching analysis of Soviet capabilities and intentions reminded us that the Soviet Union was an unfailing adversary that wished the United States immense harm. Your fortitude in telling elected officials the cold, hard truth, even when they sometimes did not want to hear it, served as a guidepost by which we could reorient U.S. foreign policy and win the Cold War.
Even in retirement, General Graham, you were dedicated and forward-thinking which you proved by founding High Frontier, a citizen's organization dedicated to leading the United States towards a secure future in space. Your leadership helped President Reagan launch the Strategic Defense Initiative, which has brought us ever closer to ending the threat of nuclear annihilation. However, you were not satisfied to simply improve national security, but you led High Frontier and its sister organization, the Space Transportation Association, to creatively think about the U.S. future in space. Today, under you care and instruction, these two organizations are among the most creative sources of thinking on developing outer space as a national resource. The X-33 program to create a reusable rocket that dramatically lowers the cost of access to space, for example, would not be happening today without the contributions of you and your colleagues.
In closing, I can only say thank you for your past service in the Cold War and your wonderful contributions to America's future. In formulating a vision for space development, you planted, watered, and nurtured a seed that is growing as we speak and will one day surpass our wildest imagination. Thank you Lieutenant General Daniel O. Graham for helping save America.
Lieut. Gen. Daniel O. Graham, one of the leading architects of President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, also known as `Star Wars,' died on Sunday at his home in Arlington, Va. He was 70.
General Graham died of colon cancer, Brig. Gen. Robert Richardson 3d, a friend and longtime colleague, said yesterday.
While others, including Dr. Edward Teller, played roles in getting the Reagan Administration to adopt the Star Wars plan to shield the United States from Soviet nuclear attack with space-based missiles, even General Graham's opponents acknowledge that he was probably the most persistent advocate for the approach.
`Dan Graham got it on the national agenda and, though it's been modified recently, the ballistic missile defense concept has remained on the agenda ever since,' said John Pike, director of the space policy project of the Federation of American Scientists, a research group in Washington.
The Strategic Defense Initiative changed its name to the Ballistic Missile Defense Project in 1993, Mr. Pike noted, but the project is still spending more than $3 billion a year on the kind of high-technology programs that General Graham championed
A graduate of West Point, General Graham spent 30 years in the military, serving in Germany, Korea and Vietnam. Much of his career was spent in military intelligence as a Soviet specialist, and he became an expert in missile defense systems and satellite surveillance. He rose to become deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency for two years in the 1970's, before he became the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 1974 to 1976, when he retired.
The general was known as an ardent hawk, even among his Pentagon peers, a man who strongly believed in the 1970's that the rapid growth of the Soviet Union's military was being ignored within the American intelligence community. And it was after General Graham retired from the military that he was able to press his views most effectively.
In 1976, General Graham advised Ronald Reagan in his first Presidential campaign, which was unsuccessful. In late 1979, the general was again asked to advise Mr. Reagan on military matters in his bid for the Presidency. Even then, General Graham was enthusiastic about shifting the nation's military resources to an antimissile defense. But as the general recalled later, the invitation from Mr. Reagan prompted him to get `really busy' on finding a way to pursue an antimissile defense policy.
In his research, General Graham came upon a plan developed in the Eisenhower Administration to destroy Russian missiles early in flight with Ballistic Missile Boost Intercepts, or Bambi, an early blueprint for space-based battle stations. The project was canceled after the Kennedy Administration concluded that it would be costly and unworkable.
Yet General Graham came to the view that technical strides in the intervening two decades gave the concept of space-based missile defense new life, according to `Teller's War,' a 1992 history of Star Wars by William J. Broad.
In 1981, General Graham set up High Frontier Inc., a policy organization intended to study and promote defense systems in space. In the last few years, High Frontier has focused more on space transportation and support systems instead of missiles, said General Richardson, deputy director of High Frontier in Arlington, Va.
Born on April 13, 1925, General Graham spent his childhood as the son of farmers near Medford, Ore. He came from a poor family, working in saw mills and orchards as a teen-ager, his son, Douglas, of Arlington, said yesterday.
General Graham is survived by his second wife, Adele Piro Graham, whom he married in 1994. His first wife, Ruth Maxwell Graham, died in 1989.
Besides his wife and son, General Graham is survived by six other children, Daniel Jr. of Fairfax, Va.; Melanie of Los Angeles; Laurie of Falls Church, Va.; Elizabeth of Falmouth, Va.; Julianne Stovall of Alexandria, and Margaret Cuccinello of Thomaston, Me.; two brothers, Patrick of San Diego and James of Colorado Springs, and one sister, Sharon Martinez of Pacifica, Calif.