Three-Star Lieutenant General
Knox College Trustee, 2007 Alumni Achievement Award Winner
International Relations Major
A liberal arts education is not typically thought of as pre-military training, but for
three-star Lieutenant General David P. Fridovich '74, the two are practically
"Somehow the value of a classic liberal arts education works -- and works exceedingly well -- when you have to deal with a multitude of complex issues, emerging ideas, and the broadest base of individuals the world has to offer," said Fridovich.
Fridovich came to Knox looking for independence and football, among other things. But during his time at the College, Dr. Robert Siebert '63, Robert W. Murphy Professor of Political Science, nurtured Fridovich towards his studies.
"Coaches Harley Knosher and Al Reilly, along with the rest of the football team, kept me wanting to come back for yet another season," Fridovich said. "Dr. Bob Seibert saw something in me I didn't know existed, a student/scholar."
With Seibert's help, Fridovich graduated from Knox in 1974 with a B.A. in international relations and headed to Tulane University, earning a master's in political science. From Tulane, Fridovich continued his education at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Fridovich also completed all phases of the Joint Professional Military Education and Studies at the British Forces' Royal College of Defense Studies of Seaford House in London, England.
Since then, Fridovich has served as commander at every level in the Army, including platoon, company, battalion, Special Forces Group, Special Operations Task Force, and Theater Special Operations Command.
Following the post-Cold War era's shift to combating terrorism, Fridovich has commanded counterterrorism forces throughout the world. In fact, Fridovich and the Special Forces units he commanded were some of the first in Afghanistan. His units' responsibilities included creating relationships with local tribal leaders in order to decrease Taliban presence in the country. Throughout these operations, Fridovich maintained that military operations are only 15 percent of what needs to be done; the rest is humanitarian, which means rebuilding schools and distributing medication.
Fridovich and his staff gained recognition for developing the Basilan model, which he described as "a leading method to indirectly affect the conditions that permit terrorism and terrorists to develop." The method focuses on pairing existing military structures with civil action projects and informational campaigns.
For his accomplishments, Fridovich received the 2007 Alumni Achievement Award. Last year, the United States Senate confirmed Fridovich for reappointment as lieutenant general and for assignment to deputy commander of the Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. He is currently the director of the Center for Special Operations.
In 2011, Fridovich began to openly discuss narcotics dependency in the military, a problem he thinks is too often swept under the rug. Fridovich joined the Army's surgeon general in campaigning for service-wide implementation of holistic implementation of pain relief. Read more in USA Today.