Established in 2016, the USIP Senior Military Advisory Group consists of retired three-star and four-star generals and admirals from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. The advisory group builds on USIP’s decades-long history of partnership with the Department of Defense, encompassing collaborative thought leadership on national security challenges, improving civilian-military cooperation in responding to complex crises, and conducting peace operations in conflict zones.

The purpose of the group is to further strengthen the Institute’s effectiveness by:

  • Advising USIP on present and future contexts for violent international conflict and suggesting ways the Institute can better position itself to meet these challenges in accordance with its mission. 
  • Exploring areas of overlap between USIP and Department of Defense objectives and capacities to identify opportunities for collaboration. 

The Senior Military Advisory Group convenes twice annually at USIP headquarters in Washington, DC. 

General George W. Casey, Jr., USA (Ret.)

General George W. Casey, Jr, USA (Ret.)

General George W. Casey, Jr. enjoyed a 41-year career in the U.S. Army following his graduation from Georgetown University. He is an accomplished leader and an authority on strategic leadership.

He led the U.S. Army from 2007-2011 and is widely credited with restoring balance to a war-weary Army and leading the transformation to keep it relevant in the 21st Century while engaged in two wars. He is a stalwart advocate for military families, wounded Soldiers, and survivors of the fallen, and took on the tough issues of suicide and reducing the stigma attached to combat stress. Prior to this, he commanded the Multi-National Force –Iraq, a coalition of more than 30 countries, where he guided the Iraq mission through its toughest days.

He held numerous other senior leadership positions in Europe, the Middle East and in the United States in his 15 years as a general officer.

He is currently serving as a Distinguished Senior Lecturer of Leadership at the Samuel Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University and lecturing internationally on leadership to the leaders of national and multinational corporations and at other business schools. He also lectures on International Relations at the Korbel School, University of Denver and serves on several corporate boards and numerous boards of organizations that support our servicemen and women, our veterans and their families.

He has published a book, Strategic Reflections, Operation Iraqi Freedom, July 2004-2007 (October 2012), about his experiences in Iraq, and two articles on leadership: "Leading in a VUCA World", Fortune Magazine (March 20, 2014), and "Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous: Leadership Lessons from Iraq", Chapter 1, Changing Mindsets to Transform Security, (December 2013).

He holds a Master's degree in International Relations from Denver University, and served as a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States, a foreign policy think-tank. He has broad international experience. Born in Japan, he served in operational assignments in Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East.

Admiral Philip Davidson, USN (Ret.)

Admiral Philip Davidson retired from active service in the U.S. Navy in May 2021 after nearly 39 years of service. He last served as the 5th Commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command from 2018 to 2021 where he oversaw 380,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen and Department of Defense civilians and was responsible for all U.S. military activities in the Indo-Pacific, covering 36 nations, 14 time zones, and more than 50 percent of the world’s population.

Prior to leading INDOPACOM, he served as the commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command/Naval Forces U.S. Northern Command. He previously served as the commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, and the commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, while simultaneously serving as the deputy commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa. His earlier sea commands included Carrier Strike Group 8/Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, USS Gettysburg (CG 64), and USS Taylor (FFG 50).

Ashore, Davidson has served in fleet, interagency, and joint tours as a flag officer; he was previously the director, Maritime Operations, U. S. Fleet Forces Command, the senior military advisor to the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) at the State Department, and the deputy director for Strategy and Policy in the Joint Staff/J-5. He also served as the Navy’s military aide to the Vice President of the United States.

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Davidson is a 1982 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a 1992 distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval War College.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies.

Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, USA (Ret.)

Karl Eikenberry

Karl Eikenberry is a former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan and Lieutenant General, U.S. Army (retired). He is a senior advisor to the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Defense on its defense and military transformation plan.  He is also a faculty member of Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. 

From 2011-2019 he was the Director of the U.S.-Asia Security Initiative at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University.  He was also an affiliate with the Stanford University Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies' Center for International Security and Cooperation; Center for Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law; and The Europe Center. 

Prior to his arrival at Stanford, he served as the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2009 until 2011.  Before appointment as Chief of Mission in Kabul, Ambassador Eikenberry had a thirty-five-year career in the United States Army, retiring with the rank of lieutenant general.  His military operational posts included as commander and staff officer with mechanized, light, airborne, and ranger infantry units in the continental U.S., Hawaii, Korea, Italy, and as the Commander of the American-led Coalition forces in Afghanistan.  He held various policy and political-military positions, including Deputy Chairman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Military Committee in Brussels, Belgium; Director for Strategic Planning and Policy for U.S. Pacific Command at Camp Smith, Hawaii; and Assistant Army and later Defense Attaché at the United States Embassy in Beijing.

He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, has earned master’s degrees from Harvard University in East Asian Studies and Stanford University in Political Science, and was a National Security Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.  Ambassador Eikenberry earned an Interpreter’s Certificate in Mandarin Chinese from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office while studying at the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence Chinese Language School in Hong Kong and has an Advanced Degree in Chinese History from Nanjing University in the People’s Republic of China.

His military awards include the Defense Distinguished and Superior Service Medals, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Ranger Tab, Combat and Expert Infantryman Badges, and master parachutist wings.  He has received the Department of State Distinguished, Superior, and Meritorious Honor Awards, and Director of Central Intelligence Award.

His foreign and international decorations include the Canadian Meritorious Service Cross, and French Legion of Honor.

Ambassador Eikenberry is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, co-directs the Academy’s project on civil wars, violence, and international responses, and serves on the Academy’s Committee on International Security Studies.

He belongs to the boards of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva, The Asia Foundation, American Councils for International Education, Asia Society of Northern California, National Bureau of Asian Research, and National Committee on American Foreign Policy; and he is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Liechtenstein Institute for Self-Determination, Princeton University.

His articles and essays on U.S. and international security issues have appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Washington Quarterly, The American Interest, American Foreign Policy Interests, Lawfare, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Lawfare, Foreign Policy, Survival, Dædalus, The Financial Times, Parameters, and Military Review.

Admiral James Foggo, USN (Ret.)

James G. Foggo

Admiral James G. Foggo, retired U.S. Navy, is currently serving as the dean for the Center for Maritime Strategy at the Navy League of the United States. A retired four-star admiral, Foggo is a 1981 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He is also an Olmsted Scholar and Moreau Scholar, earning a Master of Public Administration at Harvard University and a Diplome d’Etudes Approfondies in defense and strategic studies from the University of Strasbourg, France.

He commanded the attack submarine USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723) in 1998, which was awarded the Submarine Squadron 8 Battle Efficiency “E” award and the Admiral Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy, for being the most improved ship in the Atlantic Fleet. 

Following command of USS Oklahoma City, he would go on to command eight more times to include: Submarine Squadron 6 in Norfolk, Virginia; Submarine Group 8; Allied Submarines South; the U.S. 6th Fleet; Allied Striking and Support Forces NATO; Naval Forces Europe; Naval Forces Africa; and Allied Joint Forces Command (NATO), all headquartered in Naples, Italy.

During these command tours, he participated in combat operations as the Operations Officer for Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn (Libya) in 2011 and Commander Naval Forces Europe for strike operations against Syrian chemical weapons sites in April 2018.

Throughout his career, Foggo has been a champion of the Navy as an extended arm of diplomacy. He maintained close relationships with the U.S. ambassadors in his area of responsibility from Europe to Africa and into the Middle East. He sponsored numerous regional ambassadors conferences at his headquarters in Naples to address security challenges in the Balkans, Mediterranean and the Black Sea regions. Throughout 2021, he taught a seminar at the Foreign Service Institute on civil-military relations for rising foreign service officers. In November 2021, Foggo was named to the American Academy of Diplomacy as one of a handful of retired flag officers who serve alongside more than 200 retired ambassadors with the common goal of enhancing American diplomacy around the globe.

Foggo is a distinguished fellow of the Center for European Policy Analysis and a distinguished fellow of the Council on Competitiveness. He is a member of the board of directors of the Olmsted Foundation and the Naval Historical Foundation. He occupies a seat on the editorial board of the Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Explorer’s Club of New York. 

His awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit and NATO Meritorious Service Medal. In addition, he is the recipient of the French Chevalier de l’Ordre National de Merité and the Legion d’Honneur, the Cross of Saint George (Portugal), the White Cross of the Naval Order of the Spanish Armada, the Meritorious Service Cross from the Governor General of Canada, the rank of Commendatore from the President of Italy, and Knight of the Grand Cross of Kingdom of Two Sicilies.

Lieutenant General Charles “Hoop” Hooper, USA (Ret.)

Lieutenant General Charles Hooper enjoyed a 41-year career in the U.S. Army following his graduation from U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1979. In his latest position in the U.S. Army, he served as the director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, administering security cooperation programs supporting key U.S. policy interests. Regarded as an expert on China and its defense industries, LTG Hooper has held numerous assignments focused on China and the Indo-Pacific and is fluent in Mandarin.

Beginning his career in the U.S. Army in 1979, LTG Hooper was commissioned as an infantryman. He was then selected for the U.S. Army’s prestigious Foreign Area Officer program. He served in command and staff assignments in the U.S. Army Armor Center, the 25th Infantry Division, the 82nd Airborne Division and the U.S. Army Recruiting Command. LTG was appointed the U.S. Defense Attaché to the People's Republic of China, and later served as the Deputy Director for Strategic Planning and Policy, J-5, U.S. Pacific Command. He has also held multiple senior level political-military assignments, including Deputy Division Chief, War Plans Division, G35, Army Staff; Senior Country Director for China, Taiwan and Mongolia Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense; and Chief, Army International Affairs Division, G35, Army Staff. In his last post prior to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, LTG Hooper served as Defense Attaché and Chief, Office of Military Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt.

LTG Hooper is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, earning a Master of Public Administration. Additionally, he is a graduate of the US Army War College and the UK Ministry of Defense Chinese Language School, Hong Kong.

Admiral Michelle Howard, USN (Ret.)

Adm. Michelle Howard

Adm. Michelle Howard graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1982 and from the Army’s Command and General Staff College in 1998, with a master’s in military arts and sciences.

Howard’s initial sea tours were aboard USS Hunley (AS 31) and USS Lexington (AVT 16). While serving aboard Lexington, she received the secretary of the Navy/Navy League Captain Winifred Collins award in May 1987. This award is given to one woman officer a year for outstanding leadership. She reported to USS Mount Hood (AE 29) as chief engineer in 1990 and served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. She assumed duties as first lieutenant on board the USS Flint (AE 32) in July 1992. In January 1996, she became the executive officer of USS Tortuga (LSD 46) and deployed to the Adriatic in support of Operation Joint Endeavor, a peacekeeping effort in the former Republic of Yugoslavia. Sixty days after returning from the Mediterranean deployment, Tortuga departed on a West African training cruise, where the ship’s Sailors, with embarked Marines and U.S. Coast Guard detachment, operated with the naval services of seven African nations.

She took command of USS Rushmore (LSD 47) March 12, 1999, becoming the first African American woman to command a ship in the U.S. Navy. Howard was the commander of Amphibious Squadron 7 from May 2004 to September 2005. Deploying with Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 5, operations included tsunami relief efforts in Indonesia and maritime security operations in the North Arabian Gulf. She commanded Expeditionary Strike Group 2 from April 2009 to July 2010. In 2009, she deployed to U.S. Central Command theater, where she commanded Task Force 151, Multi-national Counter-piracy effort, and Task Force 51, Expeditionary Forces. In 2010, she was the Maritime Task Force commander for Baltic Operations, under U.S. 6th Fleet.

Her shore assignments include, J-3, Global Operations, Readiness and executive assistant to the Joint Staff director of Operations; deputy director N3 on the OPNAV staff; deputy director, Expeditionary Warfare Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) staff; senior military assistant to the secretary of the Navy; chief of staff to the director for Strategic Plans and Policy, J-5, Joint Staff, deputy commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans & strategy (N3/N5); and the 38th vice chief of naval operations.

Ambassador Douglas Lute, USA (Ret.)

Ambassador Douglas Lute

Ambassador Douglas Lute is the former United States Ambassador to NATO. Appointed by President Obama, he assumed the Brussels-based post in 2013 and served until 2017. During this period, he was instrumental in designing and implementing the 28-nation Alliance’s responses to the most severe security challenges in Europe since the end of the Cold War. He received the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award.

A career Army officer, in 2010 Lute retired from active duty as a lieutenant general after 35 years of service. In 2007 President Bush named him as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor to coordinate the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2009 he was the senior White House official retained by President Obama and his focus on the National Security Council staff shifted to South Asia. Across these two Administrations, he served a total of six years in the White House.

Before being assigned to the White House, General Lute served as Director of Operations (J3) on the Joint Staff, overseeing U.S. military operations worldwide. From 2004 to 2006, he was Director of Operations for the United States Central Command, with responsibility for U.S. military operations in 25 countries across the Middle East, eastern Africa and Central Asia, in which over 200,000 U.S. troops operated. In earlier assignments he served as Deputy Director of Operations for the United States European Command in Stuttgart, Germany; Assistant Division Commander in the 1st Infantry Division in Germany; Commander of U.S. Forces in Kosovo; and Commander of the Second Cavalry Regiment. Through his military career, he received numerous honors and awards, including three awards of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.

General Lute holds degrees from Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and from the United States Military Academy at West Point, which named him a Distinguished Graduate in 2018. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a board member for the Atlantic Council.

Lieutenant General Michael K. Nagata, USA ( Ret.)

Lieutenant General Michael K. Nagata (USA, Ret.)

Lieutenant General Michael K. Nagata retired from the US Army in 2019 after 38 years of Active Duty, with 34 years in US Special Operations. His final position was Director of Strategy for the National Counterterrorism Center from 2016 to 2019.

A native of Virginia, he graduated from Georgia State University, and first enlisted in the US Army as an Infantry Private, later receiving his Commission as an Infantry Officer in 1982 from the US Army Officer Candidate School.

As an Officer, he initially served as a Platoon Leader in the 2nd Infantry Division before volunteering for Army Special Forces in 1984. In Special Forces, he served a variety of command or staff positions.

In 1990, he was selected for a Special Mission Unit, and deployed extensively over several assignments there on both contingency and combat operations. From 1999 to 2000, he commanded the Army's Special Forces Qualification Course. In 2000, he returned to a Special Mission Unit as a Squadron Commander, and later was involved in the initial combat deployments after the 9/11 attacks.

After graduating from the National War College in 2003, he served for 2 years in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. From 2005 to 2008, as a Special Mission Unit commander, he led multiple Joint SOF task forces across more than a dozen countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.

He then served within the US Intelligence Community in Washington D.C. as a Military Deputy for Counterterrorism until 2009. He then deployed again until late 2011 to Pakistan as the Deputy Chief, Office of the Defense Representative at the US Embassy there. Upon returning to the US, he served on the Joint Staff as the Deputy Director for Special Operations and Counterterrorism until 2013.

He then assumed command of US Special Operations Command-Central and was responsible for Special Operations across the Central Command region from 2013 to 2015 and was heavily involved in the first two years of combat operations against the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere.

LTG (R) Nagata is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Special Forces Qualification Course, the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the National War College in Washington D.C.

He and his wife Barbara have five children, and one granddaughter, who are the lights of their lives.

General John M. “Jay” Paxton, USMC (Ret.)

General John M. “Jay” Paxton, USMC (Ret.)

General Paxton retired from active duty on 30 Sep 2016 after 42 years of continuous active service. He was promoted to General and assumed duties as the 33d Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps on December 15, 2012. A native of Pennsylvania, he graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor and Master of Science in Civil Engineering and was commissioned through Officer Candidate School in 1974.

General Paxton’s assignments in the operating forces included Rifle and Weapons Platoon Commander and Company Executive Officer, Co. B, 1st Battalion, 3d Marines; Training Officer, 4th Marine Regiment; Executive Officer, Co. G, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines; Company Commander, Co. L and Operations Officer, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines; GCE Operations Officer, II MEF, and Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, 1st Marine Division. He commanded the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines in support of operations in Bosnia and Somalia with 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and later the 1st Marine Regiment.

Other assignments include Company Commander, Co. B, Marine Barracks Washington and Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Recruiting Station, New York. He served as a Plans Division Officer, Plans, Policies and Operations, HQMC; as Executive Assistant to the Undersecretary of the Navy; and as Amphibious Operations Officer/Crisis Action Team Executive Officer, Combined Forces Command, Republic of Korea.

As a general officer, he served as the Director, Programs Division, Programs and Resources, HQMC; the Commanding General of Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego/Western Recruiting Region; Commanding General, 1st Marine Division; Chief of Staff, Multi-National Forces – Iraq; Director for Operations, J-3, The Joint Staff; and Commanding General, II Marine Expeditionary Force and Commander Marine Forces Africa. He also served as Commander, Marine Corps Forces Command; Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic; and Commander, Marine Forces Europe.

General Paxton is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry Officer Advanced Course and Marine Corps Command and Staff College. He has also served as a Commandant’s Fellow at the Brookings Institute as well as at the Council on Foreign Relations. He became a National Defense University Senior Fellow in 2016.

General Charles F. Wald, USAF (Ret.)

General Charles F. Wald, USAF (Ret.)

General Charles F. Wald serves as Vice Chairman, Federal Practice Advisory Partner at Deloitte. He is responsible for providing senior leadership in strategy and relationships with the U.S. Department of Defense. General Wald is a subject matter specialist in weapons procurement and deployment, counterterrorism, and international energy security policy. An acknowledged leader on global military strategy and development, General Wald is sought after to deliver speeches at private industry events, national policy institutions as well as colleges and universities. He routinely conducts radio and television interviews on topics including supply chain, defense budget planning, cost reduction, foreign military sales, and weapons systems such as the Joint Strike Fighter Program.

In 2013, General Wald was named part of the DefenseNews “100 Most Influential People” listing for U.S. Defense and a Top 100 Airpower Advocate. General Wald retired from the U.S. Air Force as a four-star general after serving over 35 years in the U.S. military as a command pilot with more than 3,600 flying hours and 430 combat hours. In his last position, he served as deputy commander of U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) from 2002 until his retirement from the U.S. Air Force in July 2006. In that role he was responsible for U.S. forces operating across 91 countries in Europe, Africa, Russia, parts of Asia, the Middle East, and most of the Atlantic Ocean. During his command, he developed the European Command Strategic Plan that included energy assurance and sustainment for the EUCOM Area of Responsibility (AOR). General Wald earned his commission through the Air Force ROTC program in 1971. He was drafted into the National Football League by the Atlanta Falcons in 1970. He has combat time as an O-2A forward air controller in Vietnam and as an F-16 pilot flying over Bosnia.

General Wald also served as a T-37 instructor pilot and F-15 flight commander. Other duties included Chief of the U.S. Air Force Combat Terrorism Center, support group commander, operations group commander, and special assistant to the Chief of Staff for the Quadrennial Defense Review. He was the Director of Strategic Planning and Policy at Headquarters U.S. Air Force, served on the Joint Staff as the Vice Director for Strategic Plans and Policy, and was the U.S. Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for the Air and Space Operations at the Pentagon. General Wald commanded the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy, where on August 30, 1995, he led one of the wing's initial strike packages against the ammunition depot at Pale, Bosnia-Herzegovina. From 1999 – 2001, he commanded the 9th Air Force and U.S. Central Command Air Forces at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina. In September 2001, as the Supporting Commander, General Wald led the development of the coalition air campaign in Operation Enduring Freedom including the idea of embedding tactical air control parties in ground special operations forces leading to the extraction of Taliban forces in Afghanistan.

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