Cover photo for Fritz Ermarth's Obituary
Fritz Ermarth Profile Photo
1941 Fritz 2022

Fritz Ermarth

February 20, 1941 — January 19, 2022

Fritz W. Ermarth of Cheyenne, Wyoming, son of Margaret L. (Sittler) and Fritz Ermarth, was born February 20, 1941 in Chicago, Illinois.  He is survived by his co-worker, friend of 48 years and wife of 27 years, Maeke Ermarth; brother, H. Michael Ermarth; daughter, Leah Ermarth; son, Michael Ermarth; step-daughter, Shaela; godson, James Wells; two granddaughters; and one grandson.

Mr. Ermarth retired October 1, 1998.  He worked over 40 years on national security affairs in government, academic, and commercial institutions specializing in Soviet, strategic, and regional conflict issues and performed management roles in intelligence, analytical, and policy organizations. He consulted with organizations working on national security and nuclear weapons policy, intelligence reform, US-Russian relations, and regional security.

He served as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council (the body which prepares National Intelligence Estimates) under Directors of Central Intelligence William Webster and Robert Gates from 1988 to 1993. Issues handled under his direction included the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR and the end of the Cold War. He also played a leading role in crisis contingency planning during the Bush Administration.

In 1993-94, he was a fellow at the Rand Corporation studying trends such as the revolution in military affairs, globalization of economics and culture, the development of post-communist societies, and the internal problems of advanced industrial democracies. During 1994-95, he was a staff consultant to the Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces.  In 1995-96, he served as a special advisor to the Navy Department.

Fritz Ermarth planned and organized interagency multi-crisis simulations targeting community management knowledge and skills and also led a special interagency team studying intelligence strategy and management for the future. Mr. Ermarth served as Soviet affairs analyst at Radio Free Europe, Munich, Germany, 1965-68; Strategic and Soviet affairs analyst, Rand Corporation, 1968-72;  Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence, 1973; Director, Strategic Evaluation Center, CIA, 1973-76; Director, Program Evaluation, Intelligence Community Staff, 1976-77; Director, Strategic Programs, Rand Corporation, 1977-78; Member of the National Security Council Staff, 1978-80; Senior Technical Analyst, Northrop Corporation, 1980-83; National Intelligence Officer for USSR and East Europe, CIA, 1983-86; and Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan and Senior Director of Soviet and European Affairs, National Security Council Staff, 1986-88.

Mr. Ermarth received at least two honors of distinction:  The Distinguished Intelligence Medal and the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal.

Among his many interests, Fritz Ermarth loved mountain climbing and hiking, which afforded him summers in the Teton Mountains with the Park Service and being part of a mountain rescue team requiring advanced mountain climbing skills – target shooting and doing his own reloading, and taking the dogs for afternoon romps in parks (he did these daily up to the day prior to being hospitalized).  He enjoyed music (classical and bluegrass being favorites) and playing the guitar and banjo – also a daily activity.  Moby Dick was his favorite book from which he often quoted.  He was raised in an involved Lutheran family and loved discussing theology and the historical stories/facts of the Bible.  Mr. Ermarth was acquainted with communities of all backgrounds, statuses and cultures and appreciated the worth and potential of each.

Private family services will be held.  Cremation is under the care of Schrader, Aragon and Jacoby Funeral Home, 2222 Russell Avenue, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82001.

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