General Hayden has devoted his life to public service, serving as Director of the CIA (2006-09), Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence (2005-06), and Director of the NSA (1999-2005). He retired from the US Air Force as a four-star general in 2008 after nearly 39 years of active-duty military service, serving in various capacities including Commander of the Air Intelligence Agency and Director of the Joint Command and Control Warfare Center. Currently, he is a Principal of the Chertoff Group and Distinguished Visiting Professor at George Mason University. He appears regularly on national news media to comment on a range of national security and intelligence issues.
Recent recipients of the Benjamin Franklin Award include Henry A. Kissinger, Gen. James Mattis, Robert D. Kaplan, Walter Russell Mead, and the late Fouad Ajami.