Reflections from CNA

From the CNA publication Currents, 3 August 2012 edition:

In Memory

Ben Horne: A Life Remembered

Mike Moskowitz and Anita Hattiangadi

This week, we learned of the tragic passing of Ben Horne, a former Research Programmer on the Resource Analysis Division’s Defense Workforce Analyses team and the son of former long-time CNAer Gary Horne. Ben and his friend, Gil Weiss, died while climbing Peru’s majestic Palcaraju Oeste mountain.

Ben’s friend and fellow CNAer, Mike Moskowitz, shares this remembrance.

“I was fortunate enough to work with Ben during his time at CNA. Our shared experiences of bullpen life and research projects resulted in a strong friendship that endured even after he went to graduate school.

It sounds like a cliché to say that Ben was unique, but he really was his own person and was as comfortable in his own skin as anyone I’ve ever met. He would laugh when retelling stories of visiting his dad at Quantico while he was in high school, getting funny looks from the Marines because of whatever crazy hairstyle he happened to be sporting at the time. Whether as a radio deejay at Rice University or as a surfing economics PhD student at the University of California at San Diego, Ben found his niche in the crowd wherever he went.

At work, Ben was easygoing, yet hardworking and dedicated. He was the perfect person with whom to discuss project ideas because he always kept an open mind and helped brainstorm possible outcomes to a given approach. When we visited sponsors, Ben would win them over

with his friendly and thoughtful manner. Since everyone in the bullpen was counting the days until they got their clearances, Ben livened things up with a “clearance pool” in which we would pick who we thought would get theirs next (mine took the longest, so I clearly lost). He had a great outlook on everything and it rubbed off on those around him.

As several of the news stories about him have noted, Ben was a citizen of the world. His time in the Peace Corps in Central Asia allowed him to travel to foreign lands, and he was always eager to learn about different cultures and faiths. He loved outdoor activities like running, hiking, rock-climbing, and mountaineering. He always pushed himself as hard in these activities as in the rest of his life.

Ben was a smart, funny, and sensitive person, and he will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.”


Dear Ben's family,

I want to share my deep condolences for the loss of Ben. He had a tremendous drive that always kept him on the move. He didn’t lose a moment of a day. Ben understood the impact that can be achieved each day we have here.

Ben embraced this attitude and shared it with others through example and, if one was lucky enough, through casual conversation. The eagerness with which he went about the day to day, even at work, kept others around him more energized. The questions he asked kept us on our toes. He made those around him feel important because he showed that he was genuinely interested in understanding them.

We worked together at CNA and lived two blocks from each other in Columbia Heights. We shared a lot of runs and dinners together and I’m honored to have gained some insight into his life philosophy. He was always looking for ways to push himself and find meaning in it, whether it was moving from CNA to the World Bank to a PhD program, or a weekend climbing trip to West Virginia. He valued the pain and reward that can be reached by simply running until you can go no more on a cool, dewy Saturday morning in Rock Creek Park. It was these moments when I got to know Ben best.

Ben and I moved away from DC for graduate school around the same time and we stayed in touch only sporadically. The truth is, he sent me a couple post cards while traveling over the past few years and all I ever responded with was an email. Ben was superb at keeping in touch. All it takes is a couple thoughtful sentences, and I feel bad now that I didn’t respond with the same attention he gave me.

The other day, I mentioned how I feel to another friend, and they said that I should start to write postcards when traveling, as a way to honor Ben. It is an excellent idea. I thought you would like to know that this is one way, of many, that Ben will live on in our lives. He will be missed.


Hayden Kwast