James Cartwright

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James Cartwright
GEN Cartwright VJCS.jpg
Cartwright in August 2007
Born (1949-09-22) September 22, 1949 (age 71)
Rockford, Illinois, United States
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service1971–2011
Commands heldVice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2007–11)
United States Strategic Command (2004–07)
1st Marine Aircraft Wing (2000–02)
Marine Aircraft Group 31 (1994–96)
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 (1992)
Battles/warsWar on Terror
AwardsDefense Distinguished Service Medal (4)
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit (2)

James Edward "Hoss" Cartwright[2] (born September 22, 1949) is a retired United States Marine Corps four-star general who last served as the eighth Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from August 31, 2007, to August 3, 2011. He previously served as the Commander, U.S. Strategic Command, from September 1, 2004, to August 10, 2007, and as Acting Commander, U.S. Strategic Command from July 9, 2004, to September 1, 2004. He retired from the Marine Corps on August 3, 2011, after nearly 40 years of service.

Cartwright was accused of providing classified information that was published in the book Confront and Conceal by David Sanger.[3] During the course of the investigation, Cartwright agreed to be interviewed by the FBI without a lawyer present.[4] He was indicted for lying to the FBI regarding the time and locations of meetings with Sanger.[4] Cartwright was never charged with leaking any classified information; Sanger maintains that Cartwright did not provide him with any classified material.[4] On October 17, 2016, he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI regarding an investigation into the source of leaked classified information. He had been scheduled to be sentenced on January 31, 2017,[5] but was pardoned and had his security clearance restored[4] by President Barack Obama on January 17, 2017.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Cartwright was born on September 22, 1949, in Rockford, Illinois, and attended West High School before going on to the University of Iowa. While there he was a scholarship swimmer for the Iowa Hawkeyes.[1]


President George W. Bush (at lectern) announces the nominations of Cartwright (far left) and Michael Mullen (second from left) to be Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, respectively, on June 28, 2007

Cartwright was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in November 1971. He attended Naval Flight Officer training and graduated in April 1973. He attended Naval Aviator training and graduated in January 1977. He has operational assignments as a Naval Flight Officer in the F-4, and as a pilot in the F-4, OA-4, and F/A-18.[7] His callsign comes from the fictional character Eric "Hoss" Cartwright, the middle brother on the classic 1960s TV show Bonanza, who was played by actor Dan Blocker.

Cartwright's operational assignments include: Commanding General, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (2000–2002), Deputy Commanding General Marine Forces Atlantic (1999–2000), Commander Marine Aircraft Group 31 (1994–1996), Commander Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 (1992), Fixed Wing Operations Marine Aircraft Group 24 (1991), Commander Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 (1989–1990), Administration Officer and Officer-In-Charge Deployed Carrier Operations VMFAT-101 (1983–1985), Aircraft Maintenance Officer VMFA-235 (1979–1982), Line Division Officer VMFA-333 USS Nimitz (1975–1977), Embarkation OIC VMFA-251 & 232 (1973–1975).[7]

Cartwright's staff assignments include: Director for Force Structure, Resources and Assessment, J-8 the Joint Staff (2002–2004); Directorate for Force Structure, Resources and Assessment, J-8 the Joint Staff (1996–1999); Deputy Aviation Plans, Policy, and Budgets Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps (1993–1994); Assistant Program Manager for Engineering, F/A-18 Naval Air Systems Command (1986–1989).[7]

Cartwright was named the Outstanding Carrier Aviator by the Association of Naval Aviation in 1983. He graduated with distinction from the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB 1986, and received his Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, 1991. In 2008, he was honored with Naval War College Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award. He was selected for and completed a fellowship with Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994.[7]

From July 9, 2004, to September 1, 2004, Lieutenant General Cartwight served as Acting Commander, U.S. Strategic Command while awaiting official assumption of office and promotion as Strategic Command's new commander. On September 1, 2004, Cartwright was sworn in as Commander, U.S. Strategic Command.[8] He was promoted to full general on the same day.[9]

(Jan. 28, 2009) President Barack Obama, with Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force chief of staff; Gen. George W. Casey, U.S. Army chief of staff; Gen. James E. Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during the President's first visit to the Pentagon as the Commander-in-Chief.
Cartwright (left) and Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. England watching the progress of an SM-3 anti-ballistic missile in 2008

On June 8, 2007, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates recommended Cartwright to be the next Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to replace retiring Admiral Edmund Giambastiani; President George W. Bush formally announced the nomination, with that of Admiral Michael Mullen to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on June 28, 2007.[10]

Senator John Warner of Virginia, the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, stated, "General Cartwright has an extraordinary grasp and understanding of the global posture that America must maintain in this era of new and ever-changing threats".[11]

Cartwright's nomination was confirmed by the full Senate on August 3, 2007. Due to the retirement of Admiral Giambastiani on July 27, 2007, Cartwright assumed the position immediately upon confirmation.[12] He was sworn in on August 31, 2007, as the 8th Vice Chairman.[13] On March 18, 2009, Secretary of Defense Gates announced that Cartwright had been nominated for a second term as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.[14] He was confirmed by the Senate on July 31, 2009.[15]

The military investigated Cartwright in 2009 and 2010 for possible misconduct involving a female Marine captain, and investigators recommended administrative action for "failure to discipline a subordinate" and "fostering an unduly familiar relationship". Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, however, reviewed the evidence and found it insufficient to warrant corrective action for even the lesser offenses. He stated, "I do not agree with the conclusion that General Cartwright maintained an 'unduly familiar relationship' with his aide. Nor do I agree that General Cartwright's execution of his leadership responsibilities vis-à-vis his aide or any other member of his staff was inconsistent with the leadership requirements".[16] "[Q]uestions about how he oversaw his staff", however, were mentioned as a reason Cartwright had fallen out as favored candidate of President Obama for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2011. Army chief Gen. Martin Dempsey was named to the post. "Some Republicans [had] ... quietly criticized Gen. Cartwright, calling him 'Obama's general,'" one report at the time also said.[17]

Cartwright held his retirement ceremony on August 3, 2011. During the ceremony, Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III presented Cartwright his fourth Defense Distinguished Service Medal. He also will receive the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard distinguished service medals.[18]

Dates of rank[edit]

Insignia Rank Date
US Marine O1 shoulderboard.svg Second Lieutenant November 12, 1971
US Marine O2 shoulderboard.svg First Lieutenant November 1, 1973
US Marine O3 shoulderboard.svg Captain November 7, 1976
US Marine O4 shoulderboard.svg Major August 1, 1977
US Marine O5 shoulderboard.svg Lieutenant Colonel November 1, 1981
US Marine O6 shoulderboard.svg Colonel March 9, 1993
US Marine O7 shoulderboard.svg Brigadier General October 1, 1997
US Marine O8 shoulderboard.svg Major General 2001
US Marine O9 shoulderboard.svg Lieutenant General May 6, 2002
US Marine 10 shoulderboard.svg General July 21, 2004


Military awards and badges[edit]

Cartwright received the following decorations, awards, and badges:

Naval Aviator Badge.jpg
Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Gold star
Gold star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Silver star
Naval Aviator insignia
Naval Flight Officer insignia
Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
Defense Distinguished Service Medal w/ three oak leaf clusters Navy Distinguished Service Medal Army Distinguished Service Medal Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal Legion of Merit w/ one 516" Gold Star Meritorious Service Medal Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/ one ​516" Gold Star
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal Joint Meritorious Unit Award w/ four oak leaf clusters Navy Unit Commendation Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation w/ two 316" bronze stars
National Defense Service Medal w/ two ​316" bronze stars Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Korea Defense Service Medal Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ one 316" silver star

Leak investigation, conviction, and pardon[edit]

In June 2013, it was reported that Cartwright had received a "target letter" from the U.S. Justice Department, informing him that he was under investigation for leaking classified information about Stuxnet, a computer virus used in a U.S.-Israel cyberattack against centrifuges in Iranian nuclear facilities (see Operation Olympic Games).[20] Federal investigators reportedly suspected that Cartwright leaked details of the operation to a New York Times reporter.[21]

In March 2015, the Washington Post reported that the sensitive leak investigation, led by Rod J. Rosenstein, had "stalled amid concerns that a prosecution in federal court could force the government to confirm" information about the highly classified program.[21] U.S. officials feared that if classified information were revealed in any information, it would harm U.S.-Israeli relations and would also complicate the then-pending negotiations on an agreement with Iran over the nuclear program.[21] It was reported that federal prosecutors had discussions with the Office of White House Counsel, then led by Kathryn Ruemmler, on whether certain material important to the case would be declassified, and Ruemmler conveyed that the government was unwilling to provide the documentation.[21]

Cartwright denied any wrongdoing; his attorney, Gregory B. Craig, said in March 2015 that Cartwright had no contact with federal investigators for over a year.[21] Craig stated: "General Cartwright has done nothing wrong. He has devoted his entire life to defending the United States. He would never do anything to weaken our national defense or undermine our national security. Hoss Cartwright is a national treasure, a genuine hero and a great patriot."[21]

On November 2, 2012, in an interview with the FBI, Cartwright denied he was the source of the leaks. On October 17, 2016, Cartwright entered a guilty plea in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on a charge of making false statements during the leak investigation, a felony.[22]

Outgoing President Barack Obama pardoned Cartwright on January 17, 2017,[23] two weeks prior to his scheduled sentencing hearing.[6]

Post-retirement work[edit]

Cartwright was the inaugural holder of the Harold Brown Chair in Defense Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank - a post he held from 2011 until 2017.[24] In addition, Cartwright serves as a member of board of directors of The Raytheon Company,[25] a senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School,[26] and as a defense consultant for ABC News.[27]

Cartwright is an advisor for several corporate entities involved in global management consulting, technology services and program solutions. predictive and big data analytics. and advanced systems engineering, integration, and decision-support services.[citation needed][buzzword] He serves as an advisor to the board of directors for Accenture,[citation needed] Enlightenment Capital,[citation needed] IxReveal,[citation needed] Logos Technologies,[citation needed] Opera Solutions,[citation needed] and TASC Inc.[citation needed] He is also affiliated with a number of professional organizations, including the Aspen Strategy Group,[citation needed] The Atlantic Council,[28] Nuclear Threat Initiative,[citation needed] and The Sanya Initiative.[citation needed]

Cartwright is also a leading advocate for the phased and verified elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide[29] ("Global Zero (campaign)"). In October 2011, he spoke at the Global Zero Summit at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California,[30] and currently serves as Chair of the Global Zero U.S. Nuclear Policy Commission, which in May 2012 released its report, "Modernizing U.S. Nuclear Force Structure and Policy," calling for the United States and Russia to reduce their nuclear arsenals 80% to 900 total weapons each, which would pave the way to bringing other nuclear weapons countries into the first-in-history multilateral nuclear arms negotiations.[31]

In June 2015, Cartwright was a signatory to a public letter written by a bipartisan group of 19 U.S. diplomats, experts, and others, on the then-pending negotiations for an agreement between Iran and world powers over Iran's nuclear program.[32][33] That letter outlined concerns about several provisions in the then-unfinished agreement and called for a number of improvements to strengthen the prospective agreement and win the letter-writers' support for it.[32] The final agreement, concluded in July 2015, shows the influence of the letter.[32] Cartwright endorsed the final agreement in August 2015, becoming one of 36 retired generals and admirals to sign an open letter in support of the agreement.[34][full citation needed]

Government civilian positions
  • 2011–2013: Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee Member[35]
  • 2014: National Defense Panel, United States Institute of Peace[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bush, President George W. (June 28, 2007). "President Bush Nominates Admiral Michael Mullen and General James Cartwright to Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff". Office of the Press Secretary, The White House. Retrieved August 28, 2008.
  2. ^ https://www.justice.gov/pardon/obama-pardons#PJAN172017
  3. ^ Savage, Charlie (January 17, 2017). "Obama Pardons James Cartwright, General Who Lied to F.B.I. in Leak Case". NYTimes.com. New York Times. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Sanger, David E. The perfect weapon : war, sabotage, and fear in the cyber age (First ed.). New York. ISBN 9780451497895. OCLC 1039082430.
  5. ^ Gerstein, Josh (January 10, 2017). "Journalists' letters submitted in Cartwright leniency bid". Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Williams, Katie Bo (January 17, 2017). "Obama pardons James Cartwright in leak case". The Hill. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d "Official Biography: General James E. Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff". U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved May 16, 2006.
  8. ^ "General James E. Cartwright, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command". United States Marine Corps. August 30, 2004. Archived from the original (Official Biography) on June 14, 2006. Retrieved May 16, 2006.
  9. ^ "Public Directory of: U.S. Marine Corps General Officers & Senior Executives", U.S. Marine Corps, January 8, 2008.
  10. ^ McMichael, William H. (June 8, 2007). "Gates taps new JCS chairman, vice chair". Marine Corps Times. Archived from the original on June 13, 2007. Retrieved June 9, 2007.
  11. ^ Starr, Barbara and Suzanne Malveaux (June 8, 2007). "Pace leaving as Joint Chiefs chairman". CNN. Retrieved June 9, 2007.
  12. ^ Tan, Michelle (March 18, 2009). "Mullen, Cartwright nominated for 2nd terms". Marine Corps Times. Archived from the original on April 5, 2012. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
  13. ^ U.S. Senate Legislation & Records Home Nominations Confirmed (Non-Civilian)
  14. ^ Shanker, Thom (February 23, 2011). "General James Cartwright Is Cleared of Sex Accusations". The New York Times.
  15. ^ Entous, Adam, "Top Officer in Army to Lead Joint Chiefs", The Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
  16. ^ "Panetta Honors Cartwright During Farewell Tribute" American Forces Press Service, Aug. 3, 2011, Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  17. ^ The Chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1949-2012 (PDF) (2 ed.). Joint History Office. October 27, 2012. p. 320. ISBN 978-1480200203.
  18. ^ Isikoff, Michael (June 27, 2013). "Ex-Pentagon general target of leak investigation, sources say". NBC News. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  19. ^ a b c d e f Ellen Nakashima & Adam Goldman, Leak investigation stalls amid fears of confirming U.S.-Israel operation, Washington Post (March 10, 2015).
  20. ^ "Former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Pleads Guilty to Federal Felony in Leak Investigation". justice.gov. United States Government. October 17, 2016. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  21. ^ Peter Maas (January 18, 2017). "Obama's Pardon of Gen. James Cartwright Is a New Twist in the War on Leaks". theintercept.com. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  22. ^ https://www.csis.org/programs/international-security-program/harold-brown-chair
  23. ^ "James E. Cartwright Elected to Raytheon Board of Directors". Raytheon. January 27, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  24. ^ Smith, James (October 2, 2012). "Former Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman James Cartwright Appointed Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center". Harvard Kennedy School. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  25. ^ Ford, David (May 21, 2012). "General Cartwright (USMC ret.) and General Chiarelli (USA ret.) Join ABC News". ABC News. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  26. ^ "Board of Directors". Atlantic Council. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  27. ^ Shanker, Thom (May 15, 2012). "Former Commander of U.S. Nuclear Forces Calls for Large Cut in Warheads". The New York Times. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  28. ^ Willer-Allred, Michele (October 11, 2011). "Global Zero Summit pushes to reduce nuclear weapons". Ventura County Star. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  29. ^ "Towards a More Disarmed World". FT.com. The Financial Times. May 15, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  30. ^ a b c William J. Broad, Iran Accord's Complexity Shows Impact of Bipartisan Letter, The New York Times (14 July 2015).
  31. ^ Public Statement on U.S. Policy Toward the Iran Nuclear Negotiations Endorsed by a Bipartisan Group of American Diplomats, Legislators, Policymakers, and Experts, Washington Institute for Near East Policy (24 June 2015).
  32. ^ [Read: An open letter from retired generals and admirals on the Iran nuclear deal], Washington Post (August 2015).[full citation needed]
  33. ^ "DOD Announces New Defense Policy Board Members". U.S. Department of Defense. October 4, 2011. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  34. ^ Review of 2014 QDR

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Edmund P. Giambastiani
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Succeeded by
James A. Winnefeld, Jr.
Preceded by
James O. Ellis
Commander, United States Strategic Command
Succeeded by
Kevin P. Chilton