Montgomery C. Meigs, a retired four-star general who commanded U.S. Army forces in Europe and served as the Louis A. Bantle Chair in Business and Government Policy at the Maxwell School, died on July 6, 2021, in Austin, Texas. He was 76.
Meigs joined the Maxwell faculty in 2004, one year after it partnered with the College of Law to form the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT)–now known as the Institute for Security Policy and Law. He served as a senior faculty advisor for INSCT, where he taught History of American Strategic Practice, a cornerstone of its certificate programs.
In a 2006 interview, Meigs said the institute creates a “focus for students interested in this important new branch of national security studies, and for faculty seeking sponsorship for related research projects.” He added, “It’s also crucial as a place for alumni and for foundations who recognize the importance of these issues and who are interested in contributing direct support to this type of study.”
William Banks, professor emeritus of public administration and international affairs at the Maxwell School and College of Law Board of Advisors Distinguished Professor, was the founding director of the INSCT. He says Meigs was of “tremendous importance” in guiding the Maxwell School’s role in the partnership.
“Upon his arrival in Syracuse, Monty and I quickly recognized our shared interests, became friends, and worked hard to stitch together the interdisciplinary partnership in national security studies between Maxwell and Law,” says Banks. “Together, Monty and I orchestrated INSCT-Bantle symposia on cutting edge counterterrorism topics, developed a lasting partnership with the Interdisciplinary Institute in Herzliya, Israel and planned and delivered advanced coursework for graduate and law students interested in obtaining certificates of advanced study in our field.”
Adds Banks, “Monty was energetic but wise and prudent in his judgments and recommendations. He was of tremendous value to me as a mentor, colleague and friend.”
Not long after his arrival at the University, Meigs was named director of the Department of Defense’s Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Task Force, a role that had him reporting to the deputy secretary of defense. In 2005 he took a one-year leave from Maxwell to return to the Pentagon to develop ways to detect and destroy improvised explosive devices.
A West Point graduate with a doctorate in history from the University of Wisconsin, Meigs served in the U.S. Army for more than 35 years. He commanded armored units in Vietnam and during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. At the time of his retirement in 2003, he was Commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, charged with the oversight of 60,000 soldiers and commanding NATO’s peacekeeping force in Bosnia. His awards included the Distinguished Service Medal, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
In addition to Syracuse University, Meigs taught at the University of Texas and Georgetown University. He also worked as a military analyst with NBC and MSNBC. He published various articles on military policy and leadership, as well as a book, “Slide Rules and Submarines” (National Defense University Press, 1990). From 2010 to 2013, he was president and chief executive of Business Executives for National Security, a nonprofit organization that tries to bring awareness of strategic world problems to senior business leaders.
Meigs is survived by his wife of 53 years, Mary Ann Mellenbruch Meigs; sons, William Meigs and Matthew Meigs; and three grandchildren.