In response to news of the passing of Herbert Kelleher, the co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of Southwest Airlines and a founding board member of Securing America’s Future Energy’s (SAFE) Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), SAFE President and CEO Robbie Diamond made the following statement.
“Herb was one of a kind, and everyone who met Herb has a story to tell. Ours is how his commitment as a member of SAFE’s ESLC since its inception has helped us to advocate for policies that enhance U.S. energy security at the highest level, from maximizing domestic oil production to reducing our transportation system’s singular dependence on petroleum.”
Starting with a fleet of just three airplanes, under Herb’s leadership Southwest became the most popular airline in the country, transporting more passengers within the U.S. than any other carrier and transforming commercial aviation in the process.
As a result, Herb had a keen understanding of how oil price volatility not only affects American economic security, but also hurts U.S. energy security goals. He was quick to realize the need for a grand bargain between greater U.S. oil production and reduced petroleum consumption, and was acutely aware that our dependence on oil is a tax on the economy.
“The vision and leadership Herb displayed at Southwest meant he was quick to realize the need for, and potential of, the ESLC. He took me under his wing during SAFE’s early days and he grew into not only a great mentor, but also a good friend. Herb’s commitment to the mission of the ESLC, as well as his endless trove of anecdotes, means will be sorely missed by all of us at SAFE,” Diamond added.
Herb was always a tireless advocate for SAFE and the ESLC, authoring influential op-eds on the need to reduce U.S. dependence on oil, and until recently still traveling to Washington to meet with SAFE staff and fellow ESLC members.
Formed in 2006, the ESLC is a group of retired military leaders and Fortune 500 CEOs who share the same commitment toward reducing the United States’ dependence on oil. The ESLC has been the driving force behind a number of SAFE initiatives, most recently SAFE’s 2016 National Strategy on Energy Security: The Innovation Revolution which offers a range of policy solutions to the challenges created by our ongoing oil dependence, including the anti-market conduct of OPEC and national oil companies.
General Paul X. Kelley
In response to news of the passing of General Paul X. Kelley, the 28th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps and Chairman Emeritus of Securing America’s Future Energy’s (SAFE) Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), SAFE President and CEO Robbie Diamond made the following statement:
“As a founder of the Rapid Reaction Joint Task Force that became Central Command, General Kelley always stood out as a visionary who understood the close ties between energy security and national security, joining SAFE in our early years as the co-chair of the Energy Security Leadership Council. We will always be humbled by his decision to join our organization and his honor, wisdom, friendship, and expertise will always be greatly appreciated by all of us here at SAFE.”
During his illustrious career, Kelley earned the Silver Star, two awards of the Legion of Merit and two awards of the Bronze Star Medal during his tours of duty in Vietnam. General Kelley commanded the last Marine regiment to serve in the Vietnam War, and became the youngest Marine ever at that time to rise to the rank of four-star general. He was named Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps on July 1, 1983.
“General Kelley was as fearless as he was outspoken, never afraid to confront problems where he saw them and prepared to work tirelessly to correct them in the service of his country when he was in the military or afterwards. He was a true American hero, a role model, and most importantly a friend, and we will miss him dearly,” Diamond concluded.
Joining SAFE as co-chair of the ESLC in 2006, General Kelley was a tireless advocate for safeguarding American national security by reducing U.S. dependence on oil. Led by General Kelley and FedEx Chairman and CEO Frederick W. Smith, the ESLC released its Recommendations to the Nation on Reducing U.S. Oil Dependence—a concrete plan to improve U.S. energy security as well crucial follow-up reports and policy briefs.
The credibility and expertise of those leaders and the quality of the policy material they presented a major role in the drafting and passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and the introduction of the National Energy Security Act by Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and George Voinovich (R-OH). The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted on a bipartisan basis to approve a wide-ranging bill that included many of the most important recommendations in 2009.