Cresencio (Cris) Arcos is a consultant and Senior Advisor to the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at the National Defense University. Previously, he was Government Affairs Counselor at Kirkpatrick Lockhart and Preston Gates LLP. He was Assistant Secretary and Director of International Affairs at U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2003-2006). Prior to this he was AT&T Corporation’s Vice President and Managing Director for International Public Affairs for Latin America and Canada (1995-2002) for market access, regulatory framework, business development and fair competition. He served (1999-2003) as a Member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board at the White House.
Cris retired with the rank of Ambassador from the U.S. Department of State (USIA) after a 25-year career. His last position was Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, 1993-1995. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Honduras, 1989-93. Prior to this posting, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, 1988-89. In 1993, he also served on the Department of State’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Task Force.
From 1986-1988, Cris served as The White House Coordinator for Public Diplomacy on Central America and was the Deputy Coordinator in the Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America at the Department of State. From 1985-1986, he served as the State Department’s Deputy Director of the Nicaraguan Humanitarian Assistance Office. His Foreign Service postings abroad included: Belgium, Portugal, Brazil, Soviet Union (Russia) and Honduras.
Cris has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.A. from The Johns Hopkins University’s Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. He was a Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Oregon’s Institute of International Studies and was a post-graduate student at the George Washington University’s Institute of Sino-Soviet Studies.
He is a member of: the Council on Foreign Relations, New York; The Atlantic Council, Washington; Director, Council of the Americas, New York (1995-2002); U.S. Member, U.N. Drug Control Program Advisory Board, Vienna (1994-1997); Advisory Commission, Florida International University’s Latin America-Caribbean Center (1996-2002); Diplomatic and Retired Consular Officers Association (DACOR); American Foreign Service Association; Board, United Negro College Fund’s Institute of International Public Policy 1995-2003); Board of Visitors, Pan American (Zamorano) Agriculture School, Honduras (1996-2003); Board, Save the Children, Latin America (1997-2000); Board, Foster Care Review, Florida (1998-2002); Pacific Council on International Policy, Los Angeles; Board, Pan American Development Foundation, Washington (2000-2003); Member, The Inter-American Dialogue, Washington (1998-2003); Member, ex officio, Department of Defense Reserved Forces Policy Board (2003-2005); Senior Advisor, The Center for the Study of the Presidency (2006-present).
Published works: “Reasonable and Proportional Security Measures on International Academic Exchange Programs” in Engaging the Arab & Islamic Worlds through Public Diplomacy, ed. W. Rugh, 2004; “Pushing Diplomacy’s Limits” (1997) and “Managing Change” (1991)in Foreign Service Journal; “Central America: New Opportunities, Old Risks” in Journal of International Law and Practice; “Hey Mister Tallymon: Europe and Bananas” in Hemisphere Magazine (1992); “Warriors in Peacetime” in Journal of Small Wars & Insurgencies, Vol. 4. #3, (Winter 1993, London); New Directions for U.S. Policy: Military & Democracy in Latin America, ed. G. Marcella, 1994; “Out of the Vortex” Foreign Service Journal, July 1993; “Telecom” Journal of Commerce, June 10, 1996; “Managing Change in Central America” in Foreign Service Reader: 77 Years of Selected Articles, 1997; “Post-Cold War Foreign Service Blues” Foreign Service Journal, Dec. 1999.
Honors and Awards: State Department Superior Honor Award 1990; Superior Honor Award 1981; Meritorious Honor Award 1977, U.S. Information Agency; the Honduran Government’s highest award, the Order of Morazan; Univ. California (Irvine) Regents’ Fellow (1998-’99).
Cris is listed in Who’s Who in the World, America, the South, the Southwest and Among Hispanics. He speaks Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and Russian. He was born in San Antonio, Texas. From 1968-1970, he served in the U.S. Army as a combat engineer.