Richard Verma continues to serve his country and bring pride to the Johnstown area.
President Joe Biden has chosen the 1986 Westmont Hilltop High School graduate to serve on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.
As our Dave Sutor reported, the White House said the council’s mission is to be “an independent source of advice on the effectiveness with which the intelligence community responds to the intelligence needs of the nation and on the vigor and insight with which the community plans for the future”. ”
The organization was formed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956.
Due to the secretive nature of the council’s work, Verma was not allowed to comment on his appointment.
The White House said Verma was one of four appointed to the advisory board — joining retired Navy Admiral James “Sandy” Winnefeld Jr.; Gilman Louie, co-founder of America’s Frontier Fund; and former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, as Sutor reported.
Verma served as United States Ambassador to India from 2015 to 2017 under President Barack Obama.
A member of the Cambria County Military Hall of Fame, Verma served in the US Air Force – reaching the rank of captain – and received the Meritorious Service Medal and Distinguished Service Award from the Department of State.
Verma served on the Federal Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism.
He served as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs from 2009 to 2011 and worked as National Security Advisor to the Senate Majority Leader.
He is a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and general counsel and head of global public policy for Mastercard.
His education includes a bachelor’s degree from Lehigh University, a doctorate from Georgetown University, and a law degree from American University.
In 2020, Verma told The Tribune-Democrat that he was a proud child of immigrants.
Her parents left India in the 1960s with “almost nothing”, Verma said at the time. They lived in Canada – where Richard was born – before settling in Johnstown in 1971.
Kamal Verma, Richard’s father, was honored in 2017 by the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, where he taught for more than 40 years. Kamal Verma helped found the South Asian Literary Association. He retired as an English teacher in 2011.
Kamal Verma recently turned 90, Richard said. Richard Verma’s mother, Savitri, died in 2011.
“Like millions of other immigrants to the United States, they worked so hard, experienced hardship, but also true joy,” Richard Verma said of his parents. “Johnstown has become our home, and the home of our best neighbors, teachers and coaches, and of course, our closest friends.
“I hope our country can come together to be that nation again where the American dream is available to anyone who comes to America – it’s the community I grew up in and the community I love, and a community where my mom and dad could start from scratch, work hard, get support and love from their friends, and one day their child could serve in the Air Force and, yes, even serve as a American ambassador.
With his considerable experience in the military, immigration, federal government and international affairs, Verma would have been a strong candidate for the contested U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania.
But perhaps his tone of professionalism and common sense would have been lost in the noise of anger and name-calling that dominated this campaign.
We are sure his intelligence and dedication to the country will guide his important work with the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.
We are proud of Richard Verma’s lifetime of service – to the country of his family and to the country and community where he grew up.