James G. Stavridis

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James G. Stavridis
Stavridis EUCOM.jpg
Birth nameJames George Stavridis
Born (1955-02-15) February 15, 1955 (age 64)
West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service1976–2013
RankUS-O10 insignia.svg Admiral
Commands heldSupreme Allied Commander Europe
U.S. European Command
U.S. Southern Command
AwardsDefense Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal ribbon.svg Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg Legion of Merit

James George Stavridis (born February 15, 1955)[2] is a retired United States Navy admiral, currently an Operating Executive with The Carlyle Group[3] and Chair of the Board of Counselors at McLarty Associates.[4] In August 2018, he stepped down[5] as the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, a graduate school for international affairs.[6] Stavridis serves as the chief international diplomacy and national security analyst for NBC News in New York.[7] He is also Chair Emeritus of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Naval Institute[8][9][10] and a Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.[11]

In June 2018, when Tufts announced that Stavridis would be stepping down as Fletcher Dean, Tuft's president and provost lauded him in a joint statement[12] calling him a "dynamic leader, a wonderful partner, and a prolific scholar."

Stavridis graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1976. While in the Navy, Stavridis served as the commander, U.S. Southern Command (2006 to 2009) and commander, U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (2009 to 2013),[13][14] the first Navy officer to have held these positions. Stavridis earned a Ph.D and Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in 1984, where he won the Gullion Prize.

Stavridis retired from the Navy in 2013 after thirty-seven years of service and became dean of The Fletcher School in the summer 2013. Penguin Random House published his book "Sailing true North: Ten Admirals and the Voyage of Character" on October 15, 2019. It reached #10 on the Amazon.com best seller list two days later.[15] His book The Accidental Admiral, describing his time in the Navy, was published in October 2014. His book The Leader's Bookshelf, published in 2017, describing the top 50 books that inspire better leadership was a #1 best seller in Amazon's "Literary Bibliography and Indexes" category.[16] A second book published in 2017 is called Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World's Oceans.[17] It opened at #9 on the Washington Post non-fiction bestseller list.[18] He is an associate fellow of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and a member of the Inter-American Dialogue.[19][20]

He was considered as a potential vice-presidential running mate by the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016 and as a possible U.S. Secretary of State by President-elect Donald Trump in the fall of 2016.[21][22]

Early life and family[edit]

Stavridis was born in West Palm Beach, Florida,[23] son of Shirley Anne (Schaffer) and Paul George Stavridis.[24][25][26] His father was a U.S. Marine Corps colonel who served in three major U.S. wars: World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.[27] Stavridis is married to Laura Hall, author of Navy Spouses Guide.[28] His paternal grandparents were Asia Minor Greeks, born and raised in Western Anatolia, who emigrated to the United States.[29] His mother's family was Pennsylvania Dutch (German).[30]

In his 2008 book, Destroyer Captain: Lessons of a First Command, Stavridis wrote:

In the early 1920s, my grandfather, a short, stocky Greek schoolteacher named Dimitrios Stavridis, was expelled from Turkey as part of 'ethnic cleansing' (read pogrom) directed against Greeks living in the remains of the Ottoman Empire. He barely escaped with his life in a small boat crossing the Aegean Sea to Athens and thence to Ellis Island. His brother was not so lucky and was killed by the Turks as part of the violence directed at the Greek minority.

A NATO exercise off the coast of modern Turkey was the "most amazing historical irony [he] could imagine," and prompted Stavridis to write of his grandfather: "His grandson, who speaks barely a few words of Greek, returns in command of a billion-dollar destroyer to the very city—Smyrna, now called İzmir—from which he sailed in a refugee craft all those years ago."[31]

Naval career[edit]

ADM James G. Stavridis, former Commander, EUCOM, and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

Stavridis is a 1976 distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He is a career surface warfare officer and served at sea in aircraft carriers, cruisers, and destroyers. After serving with distinction as Operations Officer on the newly commissioned USS Valley Forge, Stavridis commanded destroyer USS Barry from 1993 to 1995, completing deployments to Haiti, Bosnia, and the Persian Gulf. Barry won the Battenberg Cup as the top ship in the Atlantic Fleet under his command. In 1998, he commanded Destroyer Squadron 21 and deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1998, winning the Navy League's John Paul Jones Award for Inspirational Leadership.

From 2002 to 2004, Stavridis commanded Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, conducting combat operations in the Persian Gulf in support of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Afterwards, as Vice Admiral, Stavridis served as senior military assistant to the United States Secretary of Defense. On October 19, 2006, he became the first Navy officer to command the United States Southern Command in Miami, Florida. In July 2009, he became Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).[32] He retired as SACEUR in 2013.

Ashore, Stavridis served as a strategic and long range planner on the staffs of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. At the start of the "Global War on Terror", he was selected as the director of the Navy Operations Group, Deep Blue, USA. He has also served as the executive assistant to the Secretary of the Navy and the senior military assistant to the United States Secretary of Defense.

Stavridis has long advocated the use of "smart power," which he defines as the balance of hard and soft power taken together. In numerous articles[33] and speeches, he has advocated creating security in the 21st century by building bridges, not walls. Stavridis has stressed the need to connect international, inter-agency, and public-private actors to build security, lining all of them with effective strategic communications. His message was articulated in his book "Partnership for the Americas", which was published by the NDU Press and was based on his time as Commander of the U.S. Southern Command from 2006-2009. The book was summarized in his 2012 Ted Global talk in Scotland, which has been viewed more than 700,000 times online.

Based on an anonymous complaint, in early 2011 the DOD Inspector General began investigating allegations that ADM Stavridis "engaged in misconduct relating to official and unofficial travel and other matters." He was subsequently the subject of a May 3, 2012, report by the Inspector General of the Department of Defense[34] and was later absolved of wrongdoing by the Secretary of the Navy on September 11, 2012. In a Memorandum for the Record,[35] Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus wrote that Stavridis: "has consistently demonstrated himself to be a model naval officer and a devoted public servant whose motivation is to do that which is necessary and appropriate to advance the interests of the United States." Mabus concluded that "I have determined that ADM Stavridis never attempted to use his public office for private gain nor did he commit personal misconduct."[36]

Stavridis earned a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy in 1983, and a PhD in International Relations in 1984, from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he won the Gullion Prize as outstanding student. Stavridis is also 1992 distinguished graduate of the United States National War College.

Dean of the Fletcher School[edit]

Stavridis was appointed dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University on July 1, 2013.

As dean, Stavridis initiated a strategic planning process, invited several high level speakers to the campus, and is focusing thematically on the Arctic, the role of women in international relations, synthetic biology and its impact on foreign affairs, cyber, and the role of online media and social networks in public diplomacy.[37]

Media and public speaking[edit]

Admiral Stavridis in the remote studio at The Fletcher School

Since leaving active duty, Stavridis has frequently appeared on major broadcast and cable television networks to comment on national security and foreign policy matters. He has frequently appeared on news networks like CNN,[38] Fox News,[39] BBC[40] and Bloomberg,[41] and chief international diplomacy and national security analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. He has written hundreds of articles in many diverse publications including Bloomberg Opinion, Time[42], Nikkei Asian Review[43], Foreign Policy[44], Huffington World Post, and Proceedings, the magazine of the U.S. Naval Institute.

Tufts University had a remote television studio installed[45] on the campus of The Fletcher School so that Stavridis and other faculty and administrators could easily make themselves available to the international media. In August 2016 NBC News named Stavridis as their "chief international security and diplomacy analyst.[46]" Also in August 2016, according to Stavridis' official Twitter account,[47] he began a monthly column for Time.com.[48] The first column was about a "grand bargain" with Russia.[49]

Stavridis has also been a public speaker – among his many appearances are multiple appearances at the World Economic Forum[50] in Davos, Switzerland, the Munich Security Conference[51] in 2013, and lectures at Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, The University of Texas at Arlington, and many other universities. He has delivered the "Forrestal Lecture,"[52] a major address to the brigade of midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy on three occasions.[53]

Board and Organization Membership[edit]

Stavridis is on the board of several corporations and charitable organizations. Included among these are PreVeil, a cybersecurity company that develops encrypted email and file sharing systems for business and individual use, the American Water Works Company,[54] a water and wastewater utility company,Michael Baker International,[55]an engineering, planning and consulting company, , the Neuberger Berman Funds, the Onassis Foundation[56], and the Rockefeller Foundation.[57] He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations[58] and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Commencement speeches and honorary degrees[edit]

Stavridis has given numerous commencement and graduation addresses around the country at universities such as the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 2008,[59][60] the University of Miami in 2011,[61] Dickinson College in 2017,[62] and California State Maritime[63] Norwich University[64] in 2018, and Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2019. [1]

Consideration for political office[edit]

On July 12, 2016, The New York Times and other media organizations reported that Stavridis was being vetted by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign as a possible vice presidential running mate on the Democratic ticket.[65] The Washington Post summarized Stavridis' qualifications in a short video.[66] Publications like the Navy Times cited his NATO leadership as pluses.[67] An article in Politico called him "Hillary's Anti-Trump." Stavridis was quoted in that article as joking: "My name is too long for a bumper sticker."[68] Eventually, Clinton selected Tim Kaine.[69]

On December 8, 2016, Stavridis went to Trump Tower in New York City to meet with President-elect Donald Trump. Following the meeting, Stavridis told reporters that they had discussed world events, cybersecurity and other matters.[70] Press accounts suggested he was under consideration for Secretary of State or Director of National Intelligence.[71] On December 14, 2016, however, in an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Stavridis said that he would not be taking a position in the Trump administration.[72]

Awards and decorations[edit]

U.S. Army General David H. Petraeus, right, with the U.S. Navy Admiral James G. Stavridis, commander of European Command and NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe in Brussels in 2011
U.S. Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Army General John Craddock and U.S. Navy Admiral James G. Stavridis, incoming commander, salute during the national anthem at the U.S. European Command change of command ceremony at Patch Barracks in Stuttgart in June 2009

U.S. military decorations[edit]

Stavridis has received the following awards and decorations of the United States military.

Surface Warfare Officer Insignia.png Surface Warfare Officer badge

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Distinguished Service Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal ribbon.svg Defense Superior Service Medal
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Legion of Merit with four gold award stars
Gold star
Gold star
Meritorious Service Medal with two gold award stars
Joint Service Commendation Medal ribbon.svg Joint Service Commendation Medal
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Navy Commendation Medal with three gold award stars
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal ribbon.svg Navy Achievement Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Joint Meritorious Unit Award with one oak leaf cluster
U.S. Navy Unit Commendation ribbon.svg Navy Unit Commendation
Bronze star
Bronze star
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation with 2 bronze service stars
Navy "E" Ribbon w/ Wreathed Battle E device
Navy Expeditionary Medal ribbon.svg Navy Expeditionary Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal with two bronze service stars
Bronze star
Bronze star
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with one bronze service stars
Bronze star
Southwest Asia Service Medal with one bronze service star
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Armed Forces Service Medal with two bronze service stars
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with one silver and two bronze service stars
Bronze star
Navy & Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon with bronze service star
U.S. Navy Expert Rifleman Ribbon.svg Navy Expert Rifleman Medal
U.S. Navy Expert Pistol Shot Ribbon.svg Navy Expert Pistol Shot Medal

International decorations[edit]

Legion Honneur Commandeur ribbon.svg Commander's degree, National Order of the Legion of Honour of France[73]
BEL Kroonorde Grootkruis BAR.svg Grand Cross Order of the Crown (Belgium)
GRE Order of the Phoenix - Grand Cross BAR.png Grand Cross Order of the Phoenix (Greece)
Noribbon.svg Commendation Ministry of Defense: "Cross of Merit and Honour First Class" (Greece)
EST Order of the Cross of the Eagle 1st Class BAR.png Estonian Order of the Cross of the Eagle First Class[74]
ITA OMRI 2001 GC BAR.svg Order of Merit of the Italian Republic Knight Grand Cross of the Republic
GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 5 GrVK Stern.svg Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany Knight Commander's Cross with Star[75]
LUX Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg - Grand Officer BAR.png Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
HUN Order of Merit of the Hungarian Rep (military) 2class BAR.svg The Commander's Cross with Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary
POL Order Zaslugi RP kl3 BAR.png Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit (Poland)[76]
Ribbon of the Order of Duke Trpimir.png Order of Duke Trpimir (Croatia)
LTU Order for Merits to Lithuania - Commander's Cross BAR.svg Cross of Commander of the Order for Merits to Lithuania[77]
King Willem-Alexander Investiture Medal 2013.gif Investiture Medal of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.[78]
Order of Naval Merit (Argentina) - ribbon bar.png Order of Naval Merit (Argentina)
Order of Naval Merit - Grand Officer (Brazil) - ribbon bar.png Order of Naval Merit in the degree of Grand Officer (Brazil)
Legion Honneur Chevalier ribbon.png Cruz de la Victoria (Chile)[79]
Ribbon Bar of the Grand Cross The Order of Naval Merit Admiral Padilla.svg Order of Naval Merit Admiral Padilla (Colombia)
PER Orden al Mérito Naval.png Order of the Peruvian Cross of Naval Merit in the rank of Grand Cross along with a White Ribbon (Peru)[80]
Romanian Honor Emblem.png The Emblem of Honor of the General Staff of Romania
LVA Aizsardzības ministra apbalvojums "Atzinības Goda Zīme".png Medal of Honorary Recognition of Latvia[81]
PRT Medal Military Merit Grand Cross.png Military Merit Grand Cross Medal of the Portuguese Republic
GEO Vakhtang Gorgasal Order 1rank BAR.svg Order of Vakhtang Gorgasali - I Rank (Georgia)[82]
Albania gratitude.png Albanian Medal of Gratitude[83]
SVN Medal for International Cooperation, Grade I (Gold).png Slovenian Medal for multinational cooperation 1st grade
GTM Cruz de la Marina de Guerra.png Navy National Defense Cross (Guatemala)
Noribbon.svg Grand Cross (Dominican Republic)
NATO Meritorious Service Medal bar.svg NATO Meritorious Service Medal
NATO Medal Yugoslavia ribbon bar.svg NATO Medal for Former Yugoslavia
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia) ribbon.svg Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait) ribbon.svg Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
05/21/2016 - Medford/Somerville, Mass. - James Stavridis, Dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University poses with Arianna Huffington at the 2016 Class Day for the school. (Matthew Healey for Tufts University)

Other awards and honors[edit]

Stavridis has received an array of other awards and honors, including the following (listed by date conferred):

  • The Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award of the Naval War College, given annually to a graduate of the college who has "attained positions of prominence in the field of national security" (2003).[84]
  • The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum's Intrepid Freedom Award, "presented to a national or international leader who has distinguished himself in promoting and defending the values of freedom and democracy" (2011).[85]
  • The AFCEA's David Sarnoff Award, the group's highest honor, given "to recognize individuals who have made lasting and significant contributions to global peace" (2011).[86]
  • The Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Order of St. Andrew the Apostle's Athenagoras Human Rights Award, accepted on behalf of the U.S. armed forces (2011).[87]
  • The Navy League of the United States's Alfred Thayer Mahan Award for Literary Achievement (2011).
  • The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) Henry M. Jackson Distinguished Service Award, given "in recognition of his service to the defense of the United States and our European allies, and for strengthening security cooperation with Israel" (2011).[88]
  • The Atlantic Council's Distinguished Military Leadership Award (2011)[89]
  • The Business Executives for National Security's Eisenhower Award (2012).[90]
  • The Chian Federation's 33rd Annual Homeric Award (2012)[91]
  • The first recipient of the Distinguished Ally of the Israel Defense Forces Award presented by IDF Chief of Staff General Benny Gantz April 11, 2013.[92]
  • Stimson Center Pragmatist + Idealist Award, for work "to strengthen international security by helping countries in the developing world improve the lives of their people" (2013).[93]
  • The Alpha Omega Council's Lifetime Achievement Award, given to a distinguished Greek American citizen (2015)[94]
  • The Naval Order of the United States's Distinguished Sea Service Award, for "professional leadership and support to the Sea Services of the United States of America" (2015).[95]
  • The Truce Foundation of the USA awarded him their inaugural "Building Bridges Award"[96] at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
  • The Washington Institute 2016 Scholar-Statesman Award[97]
  • Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award, 2017
  • Ellis Island Medal of Honor Recipient 2017[98]
  • The American Veterans Center 2017 Andrew Goodpaster Prize[99]
  • Society for International Development Award for Leadership in Development, December 8, 2017[100]
  • Leadership 100 Conference "Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Award for Excellence," February 3, 2018[101]
  • Theodore Roosevelt Association "Medal of Honor Awardee" October 26, 2019[102]
  • International Churchill Society "Winston S. Churchill Leadership Award" October 30, 2019[103]

Published works[edit]

Selected books

  • Sailing True North: Ten Admirals and the Voyage of Character, Penguin Press, October 15, 2019, ISBN 978-0525559931
  • Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World's Oceans, Penguin Press, June 6, 2017, ISBN 978-0-7352-2059-1
  • The Leader's Bookshelf, U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2017, ISBN 978-1-68247-179-1
  • The Accidental Admiral: A Sailor Takes Command at NATO, U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2014 ISBN 978-1-61251-704-9
  • Partnership for the Americas: Western Hemisphere Strategy and U.S. Southern Command, NDU Press, November 2010 ISBN 978-0-16-087042-2
  • Command At Sea, Sixth Edition, Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute Press, Co-authored with Rear Admiral Robert Girrier, USN, 2010 ISBN 9781591147985
  • Destroyer Captain: Lessons of a First Command, U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2007 ISBN 9781591148494
  • Watch Officer's Guide, Twelfth Edition, Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute Press, Co-authored with Captain Robert Girrier, 2006 ISBN 9781591149361
  • Division Officer's Guide, Eleventh Edition, Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute Press, Co-authored with Commander Robert Girrier, 2005 ISBN 9781591147992


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External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Bantz Craddock
Combatant Commander of United States Southern Command
Succeeded by
Douglas Fraser
Combatant Commander of United States European Command
Succeeded by
Philip Breedlove
Supreme Allied Commander Europe
Academic offices
Preceded by
Stephen W. Bosworth
Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "http://www.navy.mil/navydata/bios/navybio.asp?bioID=270".