He spent 45 years in government, mainly as a diplomat, serving successive administrations as U.S. ambassador to Jordan, Nigeria, El Salvador, Israel, the United Nations, India, and Russia. And he capped his government service as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, from 1997 to 2000. But Thomas R. Pickering began his career as a naval officer, serving on active duty and later in the Naval Reserve as an air intelligence officer. He says that much of what he learned during his time in the Navy proved to be of major help later in the Foreign Service.
To many people, few cultures seem further apart than those of diplomats and military officers. Don't count me among them. I found that serving in the Navy provided me with valuable training for my life as a Foreign Service officer.