Thomas E. McNamara

Thomas E. "Ted" McNamara (born 1940) is a United States diplomat and State Department official.

Thomas E. McNamara
Thomas E McNamara.jpg
United States Ambassador to Colombia
In office
October 4, 1988 – August 14, 1991
PresidentRonald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Preceded byCharles A. Gillespie, Jr.
Succeeded byMorris D. Busby
Personal details
Born1940 (age 80–81)
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
Alma materManhattan College
University of Notre Dame


Thomas E. McNamara was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1940. He was educated at Manhattan College, graduating with a B.A. in 1962. He then attended the University of Notre Dame, receiving an M.A.

In 1965, McNamara joined the United States Foreign Service. As a diplomat, he was at various times stationed in Paris, Lubumbashi, Bukavu, Moscow, and Bogota. In the 1970s, he was active in the negotiation of several major arms control agreements, serving in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in 1974 and 1975. From 1980 to 1983, he was Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy to Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in Kinshasa.

From 1983 to 1986, McNamara was a Deputy Director of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs.

In 1986, President of the United States Ronald Reagan appointed McNamara to the United States National Security Council as Director of Counterterrorism and Counternarcotics. President Reagan nominated McNamara as United States Ambassador to Colombia in 1988. He held this post until 1991, at which time President George H. W. Bush appointed him as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for International Programs and African Affairs on the staff of the National Security Council. He served as Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism 1992-1993.

McNamara became Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs in July 1993, and then, following nomination by President Bill Clinton and Senate confirmation, became Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs on October 12, 1994. He held this office until January 9, 1998. He also served in 1997 and 1998 as Special Negotiator for Panama Canal Reversion.

McNamara retired from government service in 1998, becoming President and CEO of the Americas Society and the Council of the Americas in New York City.

Following the September 11 attacks, McNamara, as an expert in counter-terrorism, returned to government service as Senior Advisor for Counter Terrorism and Homeland Security to the Secretary of State until July 2004.

Following passage of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, President George W. Bush on March 15, 2006 appointed McNamara Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment reporting through the Director of National Intelligence to the President and the Congress. He is the third recipient of the National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Medal.


Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Charles A. Gillespie, Jr.
United States Ambassador to Colombia
October 4, 1988 – August 14, 1991
Succeeded by
Morris D. Busby
Government offices
Preceded by
Robert Gallucci
Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs
October 12, 1994 – January 9, 1998
Succeeded by
Eric D. Newsom