Judge William H. Webster

The Honorable Judge William H. Webster
Former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
Central Intelligence Agency and the United States Intelligence Community.
Chairman, Homeland Security Advisory Council

Judge William Webster, proclaimed by Governor Tom Ridge the First Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security “A National Treasure,” was born on March 6, 1923, in St. Louis, Missouri. Judge Webster was awarded his Bachelor of Arts degree from Amherst College and received a Juris Doctor degree from Washington University in 1949. Judge Webster served as a United States Navy Lieutenant during World War II and the Korean War. A practicing attorney from 1949 to 1959, in 1960, Judge Webster became the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri and from 1964 to 1969 was a member of the Missouri Board of Law Examiners. In 1970 Judge Webster was elevated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

In February 1978, Judge Webster was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Appointed by President Ronald Reagan, from May 1978 to August 1991 Judge Webster served as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Director, U.S. Intelligence Community. Judge Webster is the only person in U. S. History to serve in all three of these National Security positions. Upon his retirement from Federal service in 1991, Judge Webster practiced law in the Washington, DC offices of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, LLP. He has maintained an office there since his retirement.

In August 2005, Judge Webster was appointed by President George W. Bush as Chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC). With the cascading consequences of the long-anticipated failure of the New Orleans Levee System still being inflicted, Judge Webster spearheaded an HSAC study into the adequacy of U.S. Critical Infrastructure Protection policies and programs. In January 2006, the HSAC’s “Report of the Critical Infrastructure Task Force” made public its principal recommendation: “Promulgate Critical Infrastructure Resilience as the top-level strategic objective — the desired outcome to drive national policy and planning.” The HSAC’s subsequent June 2011 “Community Resilience Task Force Recommendations” provided the vision and means to operationalize resilience in communities throughout America.

Judge Webster holds 18 honorary degrees and Doctorates and in further recognition of his singularly unique service to the Nation and among his many awards, Judge Webster is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom; the Distinguished Intelligence Medal; and the National Security Medal. In August 2017, the National Spy Museum presented to Former President George H. W. Bush The Honorable William H. Webster Distinguished Service Award.

Judge Webster was married to the late Drusilla Lane Webster for 34 years and is the father of three children. In 1990, Judge Webster married Lynda Clugston. Residing in the Washington, DC area, they enjoy seven grandchildren, a golden retriever, a tabby cat and three horses.

Presentation: Operationalizing Resilience

With the consequences from the catastrophic failure of New Orleans’s protected Levee System (including adversary perceptions of the condition and exploitability of American infrastructure); still unfolding, immediately upon his appointment as Chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC), Judge Webster assumed direction of an HSAC Task Force focused on the adequacy of U.S. Critical Infrastructure Protection policies and programs. The HSAC’s review and resilience-based recommendations are captured in its 2006 “Critical Infrastructure Task Force Report” (https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/HSAC_CITF_Report_v2.pdf)
and its 2011 “Community Resilience Task Force Recommendations” (https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/hsac-community-resilience-task-force-recommendations-072011.pdf). The Critical Infrastructure Task Force Report is considered the foundational U.S. Government document on Critical Infrastructure — and by extension — community and National Resilience.

As an extension of the “Operationalizing Resilience” Panel Presentation on December 7, Judge Webster will offer his better than seven decades of unique experience and perspectives on Homeland and National Security. Because critical infrastructure enables the spectrum of business, community and National life and because a risk-free life is impossible to achieve, Judge Webster will recognize the challenges the Nation has and will always confront, and the dynamism its citizens have and must always bring to bear to ensure continuous improvement in their and America’s safety, security, quality of life and future.