Get Me Carlucci: A Daughter Recounts Her Father’s Legacy of Service

Get Me Carlucci: A Daughter Recounts Her Father’s Legacy of Service   Author: Kristin Carlucci Weed

As time passes and the political winds seem ever more afoul with a polarizing scent, one can look back to a time in recent US history when both sides of the aisle cooperated and compromised for the benefit of all Americans more fully. The James Baker and Leon Panetta era seem foreign and forgotten to many who closely watch domestic policy machinations play out today in social media and the 24-hour news cycle. Rare was it to find trust and the bond that one could be taken at their word. Yet, one of those rare public servants was Frank Carlucci III. Not really a politician, but one who understood politics, Carlucci made a name for himself on both sides of the aisle in an unassuming, hardworking way he learned from his father. Holding rare roles during his public service career as Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, US Ambassador to Portugal as a junior foreign service officer who is still today hailed as a country hero, to his role as the Deputy Director of the CIA, to his time spent as President Reagan's National Security Advisor, to his final appointment as the Secretary of Defense, he worked for both Democrats and Republicans despite his Republican Party affiliation. Carlucci played a significant role during the tenuous Cold War in helping keep Portugal aligned to the West, and was sought out for his advice, and soft-spoken temperament, which is why he was so well-loved.

His daughter, Kristin Weed Carlucci, has captured these stories and some of the personal anecdotes and highlights of Carlucci's career in this readable and authoritative short biography. Frank Carlucci, to his credit, kept a journal of sorts and even began a memoir of his career yet it was never finished or published as the onset of his late Parkinson's Disease diagnosis kept him focused more on his family. Kristin took his writings, interviewed a number of the most important people in Carlucci's professional life, and interspersed her own recollections as his daughter in this credible work.

I first met Frank myself while a military officer commanding a US Air Force base in England. His son-in-law, Joshua Weed (Kristin's husband), and I worked together in my front office, yet it would be until the end of our working relationship prior to their military move to Germany did I know Josh was Frank's son-in-law. When Josh and Kristin were expecting their first child, Marcia and Frank were going to come to England and stay with them for a bit shortly after the baby was born. Josh knew I had written a historical book while a graduate student at Harvard on the history and historical antecedents of the National Security Council. Part of my research graded each of the National Security Advisors who had served the president up until its time of publication in 2008. Frank Carlucci was one of them and my treatment of him was complimentary...phew! Josh arranged for me to meet Frank when they came to England in the summer of 2010, and before I knew it we were sipping Chardonnay on the edge of the River Cam in Cambridge while he waxed eloquent on his career in the government and White House! I gave Frank a copy of my book and, by god, did he not only read it, he sent me back a typed letter denoting the pros and cons of my conclusions and recommendations, generally agreeing with the bottom line. I treasure this letter today! But this would be the end of my time seeing Frank. More on that later…

Get Me Carlucci, the book's title, results from that often-sought-after persona I referred earlier. Working for Presidents Nixon, Carter, Ford and Reagan, Kristin details her father's no-nonsense approach to his work, which was backed up in these pages by the likes of those he worked closely, including Colin Powell (who eulogized him after his passing in 2018 and who worked with him in numerous capacities), Donald Rumsfeld, Henry Kissinger, and others--you must read about it! Carlucci was a family man, too, despite his busy agenda, and although his government salary didn't often pay all the bills, he never eschewed the call to public service. Even though his father's wish had been for him to be a businessman, something he didn't pursue in full until after his public service career was done, and for which he became wildly successful, he gave back by serving on boards and addressing various groups about the benefits of government service.

One of the boards he served on happened to bring me and Carlucci together again after our initial meeting in 2010. During that conversation, Frank asked me what I was interested in pursuing after my command tour was completed in 2011. I told him I was interested in becoming the US Air Force's senior fellow on the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. Frank sported a broad grin at my mention of this and told me he chairs that selection board and that he would see me if I was nominated by the US Air Force Chief of Staff. Sure enough, the next year I was selected and traveled to New York City for the interview. As I opened the doors to the interview room Frank stood up and greeted me warmly by name, much to the surprise of the former military Service chiefs who made up the rest of the panel, such as Generals John Jumper, Gordon Sullivan, and former Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen! I have to say I felt 10 feet tall at that moment before the grilling began! I got the fellowship by the way and have enjoyed my lifetime membership with the Council.

In conclusion, Get Me Carlucci is sure to be as sought after a national security reference about one of the most sought after national security professionals whose work ethic and principles are not likely to be seen any time soon, unfortunately. His rare ability to develop coalitions of support and hard work set a standard for government that all national security professionals should aspire, and I know that all who pick this book up will be inspired by that bottom-line message.