The Naval Postgraduate School & The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

50th Anniversary of JFK Assassination

JFKOn November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed while riding in his motorcade through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas. Today marks the 50th anniversary of his assassination. While the details surrounding his death remain unclear, the anguish that the tragedy generated across the nation is still evident. In fact, the after-effects of that fatal November afternoon continue to influence US security policy and culture even today.

The following is a short summation of government and civilian efforts to understand the events surrounding the assassination over the past fifty years:

Almost immediately following JFK's death the US government began compiling information and resources pertaining to the assassination under the Warren Commission. Officially called the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, the Warren Commission was the investigation of the JFK assassination, and the subsequent killing of his assassin, launched by succeeding President Lyndon B. Johnson on November 29, 1963. The result was an 889-page final report presented to President Johnson in September 1964.

In 1976 the JFK assassination case was reexamined through the establishment of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). In addition to investigating the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Committee researched the JFK case until 1978, when it issued its final report. The conclusions of the report found "probable conspiracy" in the assassination, but were unable to pinpoint specific participants other than Lee Harvey Oswald.

Almost 30 years later, the US government again began collecting information on the assassination under the Clinton Administration. The most significant of these efforts was the creation of the Assassination Records Review Board. The Board was established in 1992 with the goal of re-examining for release documents related to the assassination that federal agencies still regarded as too sensitive for public release. Its final report was released in 1998.

Since the 1998 report, however, more recent investigations have centered on the alleged government involvement in JFK's death rather than the actual pursuit of his killer. Research shows that the majority of Americans still believe that JFK was killed in a conspiracy, and countless articles and books have been written in an attempt to validate, or invalidate, these beliefs. Cedric Muhammad, contributor to Forbes' online publications, has compiled a few of the most essential books on JFK's assassination and theories surrounding the conspiracy allegations.