Ambassador Robert G. Loftis came to the U.S. Institute of Peace as an interagency professional-in-residence after serving more than three decades at the State Department. Most recently, he had been the acting coordinator for reconstruction and stabilization and led the transition of the Office of the Coordinator to the new bureau for Conflict and Stabilization Operations. Prior to retiring from the Foreign Service in November 2009 and working as a consultant, he served as the special representative for Avian and Pandemic Influenza at the Department of State. Ambassador Loftis was the deputy commandant and senior adviser for international affairs for the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at National Defense University, where he taught strategic leadership.
As senior adviser for security negotiations and agreements in the bureau of political military affairs in the Department of State from August 2004 to July 2007, his primary responsibilities were to negotiate status of forces and base access agreements for the deployment of United States forces abroad, as well negotiating burden-sharing agreements with allies and partners. In early 2008, he was the lead negotiator for a status of forces agreement with Iraq. He was also the deputy executive director of the Implementation Planning Team for the creation of the Africa Command (AFRICOM).
Loftis also served as United States ambassador to the Kingdom of Lesotho from September 2001 to July 2004, where he focused on the promotion of democratic institutions, economic and trade development, and the fight against HIV/AIDS. Loftis served as deputy chief of mission in Maputo, during Mozambique’s first full and free elections, as well as the devastating floods of 2000. Previous overseas assignments include Political Counselor at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand, Political/Economic Officer in Brasilia, Brazil, and General Services Officer in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau.
Loftis joined the Foreign Service in May 1980. He speaks Portuguese and French and has received several Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards, as well as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint Meritorious Civilian Service Award.
He earned his bachelor's degree in political science with distinction and honors from Colorado State University in 1979.
During his stay at USIP, he will be working with the intergovernmental affairs office to assist the Institute in its efforts to enhance civilian-military cooperation and knowledge sharing across the government.