Patriot applied expertise to U.S., foreign policy
R. Daniel McMichael was the expert that other experts often turned to when a particularly vexing situation arose involving foreign policy issues or national security and defense matters.
But his immersion in policy discussions didn't prevent him from penning a novel and occasional newspaper columns.
“Mr. McMichael was an extraordinary individual,” said Baker Spring, the F.M. Kirby Research Fellow in National Security Policy at The Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based think tank.
“He was great at providing a sense of direction on where we needed to go on national security in general, and ballistic missile defenses in particular. He also was equally adept at communicating with both the Washington policy community, as well as with people in other parts of the country who don't look at the issues as closely as they are examined in Washington.”
Mr. McMichael, 87, of Shadyside died on Monday, Sept. 23, 2013. He was the longtime secretary of two Pittsburgh philanthropies — the Sarah Scaife Foundation and The Carthage Foundation — and served as the administrative agent for the Scaife Family Charitable Trusts until their 1984 termination.
“Dan was a dear friend, a tremendous ally and a true patriot,” said Tribune-Review publisher Dick Scaife. “We worked closely together for nearly a half-century on national security, economics, foreign policy and other matters vital to our nation.
“He was a man who understood in great detail the world situation and all its players therein,” Scaife said. “He worked closely over the years with many of our nation's leading figures on the most complex issues, and I heard often how much they respected his expertise.
”His knowledge, dedication and love for America were unparalleled – and they, like he, will be greatly missed.”
An Air Force veteran who served in the South Pacific, Mr. McMichael graduated from DePauw University in Indiana in 1949, then vaulted from a public affairs career with the United States Steel Corp. into the role of policy consultant.
In 1980, he chaired President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Minerals Task Force and later advised the executive branch and Congress on strategic resource issues.
Mr. McMichael served on the boards of the National Strategy Information Center; the International Securities Studies Program of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts; and the Center of Strategic and International Studies.
His interest in international affairs was underscored by his role as past president of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh and chairman of the Executive Committee on the Prague Security Studies Institute.
“He was a great patriot who worked hard to advance the strengthening of the United States,” said Robert Pfaltzgraff, professor of international security studies at Tufts' Fletcher School, who knew Mr. McMichael for five decades. “His life's work was to look at the importance of a strong foreign policy as a basis for freedom at home.”
Allan Meltzer, an economist and professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business, recalled McMichael as “an extremely intelligent, very hard-working person, very much concerned with defense issues. He worked with people on cybersecurity issues long before that became popular.
In addition to writing intermittent newspaper pieces, Mr. McMichael wrote the 1967 novel “The Journal of David Q. Little,” a dystopian tale about the erosion of liberty in America. The book was reissued last year.
Mr. McMichael is survived by his daughter, Marcia Miller, of North Carolina and three grandchildren. His wife, Margaret, died in 2005.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers RB Archer trying to catch up after tough rookie season
- Steelers LB Timmons has grown into leadership role on defense
- Steelers notebook: Backup QB Gradkowski remains out with shoulder issue
- Rising East Liberty out of reach for Pittsburgh’s poor
- ‘Real’ people, solutions at heart of GOP ad blitz in Pa.
- Juvenile shot in North Versailles neighborhood
- Leschak Automotive advances to second round in DNL playoffs
- Pirates third baseman Ramirez’s last ride is about winning a ring
- Bill seeks to give Pittsburgh police license plate info
- Ambridge’s PittMoss takes off with help from TV show, Mt. Lebanon native Cuban
- Medical pot has advocate in Pennsylvania House