Perry Smith

Former Military Analyst for CNN; Served for 30 years in the U. S. Air Force; Teacher, Author and TV and Radio Commentator

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Perry M. Smith is a teacher, speaker, TV and radio commentator and best-selling author. Hundred of millions of television viewers world-wide came to know him during the 1991 Persian Gulf War for his more than 100 appearances as a military » Read Full Bio

Perry M. Smith is a teacher, speaker, TV and radio commentator and best-selling author. Hundred of millions of television viewers world-wide came to know him during the 1991 Persian Gulf War for his more than 100 appearances as a military analyst for the Cable News Network, the McNeil-Lehrer News Hour and NBC news. 

A retired major general, Smith served for 30 years in the U. S. Air Force. During his career he had a number of leadership experiences, including command of the F-15 fighter wing at Bitburg, Germany where he provided leadership to 4000 personnel. Later, he served as the top Air Force planner and as the commandant of the National War College.
 Smith’s total number of flying hours as a pilot (mostly in fighter aircraft: F-84, F-100, F-4 and F-15). is 3400  He flew 180 combat missions in the F-4D aircraft over North Vietnam and Laos during the Vietnam War. 

A graduate of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, he later earned his Ph.D. in International Relations from Columbia University. His dissertation earned the Helen Dwight Reid award from the American Political Science Association. At West Point, he played on the varsity lacrosse team—earning All American honors (second team) his senior year.  

Smith has made presentations on leadership, strategic planning or ethics for Harvard's Kennedy School, The Chautauqua Institution, The Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, Texas Instruments, Intel, the WK Kellogg Foundation, Microsoft, Georgia Regents University and the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. He has conducted workshops on executive leadership for the governors of three states, and the mayor of Detroit. Smith gives keynote addresses at conventions and conferences. Since 1992, he has been an enrichment lecturer and celebrity speaker on Crystal Cruises. From 2004 to 2014, Smith served as secretary of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. He assisted in the editing of the best selling book, Medal of Honorby Peter Collier. 

Smith’s published books include Rules and Tools for Leaders, Assignment Pentagon,and Courage, Compassion, Marine: The Unique Story of Jimmie Dyess. The latter book is a biography of the only person to have earned America's two highest awards for heroism, the Medal of Honor and the Carnegie Medal. In 2015, Smith produced a 60 minute video, Twice a Hero: The Jimmie Dyess Story. 


With more than 350,000 copies in print, Rules and Tools for Leaders is his most popular book. A practical guide for leaders, this book contains hundreds of rules of thumb and includes 25 checklists on how to hire, fire, plan, deal with the media, give compliments, run meetings, make decisions, provide counseling, check organizational ethics, transition into a new job, etc. After he was interviewed on the Today Show, this book reached #2 on the bestseller list. The 4th edition was published in August, 2013. Jeff Foley is the co-author of the newest edition. 

Smith’s seven-year relationship with CNN ended on June 14, 1998 when he resigned over an issue of integrity (CNN's egregious special accusing the U. S. military of using lethal nerve gas to kill our own soldiers during the Vietnam War). Later he served on contract as a military analyst for NBC TV, CBS TV and CBS radio. 

In 2011, The General Perry Smith Parkway near the Augusta Regional Airport was dedicated. Smith received this honor largely because of his fund raising efforts on behalf of Saint Paul’s Church, the regional Boy Scouts, the Augusta Museum of History, the Augusta Warrior Project, the new Fisher House, the Heritage Academy, and Christ Community Health Services. 

Smith is married to the former Connor Cleckley Dyess, the daughter of Marine Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Dyess. She was eight years old when her father was killed in the Marshall Islands in Febraury,1944. The Smith’s have two children, McCoy and Serena, and three grandchildren, Dyess, Porter and Perry IV.  Dyess is an undergraduate at Emory University—class of 2018.  Porter will enter Emory in August, 2016—class of 2020.

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Media files by Perry Smith

  • Perry Smith: Media File 1

Speaker Programs (Click on each program to view the description)

Rules & Tools for Leaders
Based on the book by the same name, Rules & Tools for Leaders provides useful and time-tested advice that can be implemented immediately to the benefit of the entire organization. From defining the qualities of outstanding leaders to putting good leadership skills into practice, from managing yourself and others to handling the difficult tests that leadership brings, this presentation includes valuable checklists and reviews. In addition, it highlights some of the best leadership programs and presents a host of compelling and instructive anecdotes that illustrate the ideas throughout.




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