However, the Air Force still wanted to keep him and said they would send him to college. He chose the University of Kansas, where he majored in Latin America. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1975 and his master’s degree in 1976. He then rose through the ranks of the Air Force, serving in the Pentagon and increasing positions around the world. He was made a four-star general in 1992.
After retiring from the Air Force, he was hired by Newt Gingrich, who both designed the first Republican House takeover in 40 years and became a speaker, to help him execute on his strategic vision. .
In 1998, Mr. Gingrich and President Bill Clinton formed the Hart-Rudman commission to examine the national security apparatus comprehensively, for the first time since 1947. General Boyd, the commission’s executive director, said in oral histories that there were his reports. was seriously considered earlier in 2001, “at least we will have a chance even to avert the catastrophe that befell us on 9/11”.
He later became the chairman and chief executive officer of Business executive for national securitya nonprofit organization through which top business leaders, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, FedEx’s Fred Smith and AIG’s Hank Greenberg, have provided their expertise to help improve efficiency at the Pentagon and homeland security.
In 2002, as President George W. Bush prepared to invade Iraq, General Boyd and Jessica Matthews, then presidents of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peacea foreign policy research group in Washington, offer an alternative to war. They propose what they call coercive inspection, in which UN weapons inspectors in Iraq will be supported by a US-led multinational inspection team. These inspectors will ask Iraq to comply with “or others,” which may include pursuing a policy of regime change. The United States eventually invaded Iraq, but their proposal was discussed at the highest levels in Washington.
Over the years, General Boyd has tended to stay out of electoral politics, quietly supporting Republicans. But in 2020 he signed a letteralong with nearly 500 other military and civilian leaders, said he supported Joe Biden for president over President Donald J. Trump.
“Donald Trump’s attack on the rule of law to create a democracy has become so serious that I have decided to speak out,” he said in a video on Twitter.
General Boyd and Mrs. Matthews were married in 2005. She is still alive. In addition to his son, General Boyd, who lives on a farm outside of Marshall, Va., is survived by a daughter, Jessica Van Tillborg; four nieces; and his sister, Shirlee Bouch.