James B. Smith

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James B. Smith
United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
In office
September 16, 2009 – September 27, 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Ford M. Fraker
Succeeded by Joseph W. Westphal
Personal details
Born 1952 (age 65–66)
Brooks, Georgia
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Dr. Janet Breslin-Smith
Alma mater U.S. Air Force Academy
Indiana University
Profession Air Force

James B. Smith (Brooks, Georgia, 1952) is the former United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Selected by President Barack Obama, he was sworn in on September 16, 2009. He left his post on September 27, 2013.

Professional career[edit]

Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Smith had served in a variety of executive positions with Raytheon Company involving corporate strategic planning, aircraft manufacturing, and international business development.

Smith was a distinguished graduate of the United States Air Force Academy’s Class of 1974 and received the Richard I. Bong award as the Outstanding Cadet in Military History. He received his Masters in History from Indiana University in 1975, and is also a distinguished graduate from the Naval War College, the Air Command and Staff College and the National War College.

Smith spent a 28-year career in the United States Air Force. Trained as a fighter pilot, he logged over 4000 hours of flight time in F-15s and T-38s. He served around the world in a variety of operational assignments and flew combat missions from Dhahran AB during Operation Desert Storm. He commanded the 94th Fighter Squadron, the 325th Operations Group and the 18th Fighter Wing (Kadena AB, Okinawa). In addition, he served in a variety of staff assignments involving coalition partners, and served as Air Force Chair and Professor of Military Strategy at the National War College. During his final assignment at U.S. Joint Forces Command, he led Millennium Challenge, the largest transformation experiment in history. He was promoted to Brigadier General in October, 1998, and retired from the Air Force on October 1, 2002.

In April 2017, Smith was appointed to be the dean of the newly formed College of Engineering, Technology, and Aeronautics at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).[1]

Smith has received honorary degrees from SNHU and the University of Maryland University College.[2]


  1. ^ Keane, Lauren (April 14, 2017). "SNHU Announces Plans for New College of Engineering, Technology and Aeronautics". SNHU. Retrieved April 14, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Advisory Board". ENODO Global. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Ford M. Fraker
United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Succeeded by
Joseph W. Westphal