Greg Jaffe, Military Affairs Reporter for The Washington Post, has won the 23nd annual Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense. The $5,000 award recognizes journalists whose high standards for accuracy and substance help foster a better public understanding of National Defense. The award was presented by Jack Ford, son of the late President Gerald R. Ford and Chairman of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, at a National Press Club luncheon on June 7, 2010. Following the presentation of the award, General Brent Scowcroft addressed the audience.
When announcing their decision to award Greg Jaffe the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense in 2009, the judges issued the following statement:
“Mr. Jaffe’s story on the battle of Wanat was nothing short of “riveting,” as one of the judges characterized it. The heartrending story of a father’s efforts to investigate the death of his son was the lens through which Jaffe threw the spotlight on key issues–troop readiness and equipment challenges, and strategy in particular—associated with U.S. engagement in Afghanistan. Jaffe’s articles were well reported, researched and written.
Together, they offer a clear and cohesive picture of the many challenges associated with national defense–from individual tragedy to military failures and from on-the ground decisions by local commanders to efforts by the Secretary of Defense to remake the military to meet counterinsurgency conflicts. In a world in which national security issues are ever more complex, confusing, and urgent, the readability of Mr. Jaffe’s work helps to illuminate both the stakes and the challenges.”
The judges for this year’s contest were:
Chair, Debra van Opstal, Senior Fellow, Resilience Policy, Center for National Policy; Michael Champness, Reserve Colonel on active duty, Senior Individual Mobilization Augmentee to the Deputy Director of Operational Capability Requirements at Air Force Headquarters; Robert Holzer, Principal Analyst, National Security Programs, Gryphon Technologies, and recipient of the 1998 Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense; David M. Olive, Principal at Catalyst Partners with more than 30 years experience in business, politics, law, and public affairs, including establishment of The Washington Homeland Security Roundtable; Erik Peterson, Director of the Global Business Policy Council at AT Kearney and Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; Karen Scowcroft, Senior Vice President and Chief Counsel – Financial Services for CIT Group Inc.
This year’s winner:
Greg Jaffe covers the military for The Washington Post where he has been since March 2009. Prior to the Post, he was a reporter with The Wall Street Journal from 1995-2008. He is the co-author of the book The Fourth Star about the lives of Generals Casey, Abizaid, Chiarelli and Petraeus from 1970 through the Iraq war. Jaffe covered the Pentagon full time for the Journal out of the paper’s Washington bureau beginning in January 2000. He has made multiple trips to Afghanistan and Iraq and embedded with troops at all levels. Jaffe shared a Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for a series on defense spending. In 2002 and 2005, Jaffe won the Raymond Clapper Award for Washington coverage.
He also won the Gerald R. Ford award for defense coverage in 2002. He is a graduate of Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. His first job in journalism was with the Montgomery Advertiser in Montgomery, Ala. There he co-authored a series on the questionable fundraising tactics of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the nation’s wealthiest civil rights charity that was a finalist for the 1994 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Journalism. Jaffe grew up in Northern Virginia and lives in Arlington, Va., with his wife and two children.