U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has appointed Bismarck Myrick, ambassador in residence at Old Dominion University, as the vice chair of the Board of Visitors of the National Defense University.

"I am pleased and honored to have this opportunity for service to advance U.S. national security interests," said Myrick, who will serve a two-year term. "I feel privileged there are those at the senior level of government who feel I have something to contribute."

Austin O. Agho, ODU's provost and vice president for academic affairs, said: "Our students have greatly benefited from Ambassador Myrick's long diplomatic service and keen understanding of world affairs, and I know that his leadership skills will also be of significant value to the National Defense University."

The main campus of the National Defense University is on Fort McNair in Washington. The university consists of five colleges, including the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk. Myrick has served as a senior mentor to star-level military officers and senior enlisted personnel enrolled at the university.

The mission of the National Defense University is to "educate joint warfighters and other national security leaders in critical thinking and the creative application of military power to inform national strategy" and to maintain the country's strategic advantage.

Myrick, who has taught political science and history at Old Dominion since 2002, previously served as U.S. ambassador to Lesotho and Liberia and led the U.S. diplomatic missions in Cape Town and Durban in South Africa. His other responsibilities included chairing an interagency working group on strategic nuclear policy, and he received the U.S. State Department's Superior Honor Award.

Before his career as a diplomat, Myrick was in the Army, rising to become a field grade officer. He served in Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Germany and Ethiopia. His honors include the Silver Star, four Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart and the Meritorious Service Medal. Myrick is in the National Infantry Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Portsmouth, his hometown, has named two streets in his honor, and he received the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Chesapeake Men for Progress Foundation.

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