Influential Cold War Strategist Dies

Retired Lt. Gen. Glenn A. Kent, who helped shape Cold War nuclear strategy and investment in weapon systems like the E-3 AWACS and F-15, died on April 25 at age 96, according to an Air Force release. Born in Red Cloud, Neb., in 1915, Kent joined the Army Air Corps in 1941 as a cadet. He served during World War II as a weather officer. Over a military career spanning some 33 years until his retirement in September 1974, Kent completed numerous assignments in the weapons field, with positions ranging from research and development to planning, strategy, and policymaking. He devised the “single integrated operational plan” that served as the framework for the United States’ general blueprint for nuclear war from 1961 to 2003, according to a release from RAND on the day following Kent’s death. His “strategy-to-task” process led to well-founded investment strategies, said RAND. Kent joined RAND in 1982 as a senior research fellow and worked there until 2008. “Gen. Kent made enormous contributions to the field of defense analysis and evaluation during his two careers, at RAND and in the US Air Force,” said RAND President Michael Rich.