James E. Cartwright

  • General James Cartwright (USMC, ret.) hails from Rockford, Illinois. He attended the University of Iowa and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marines in 1971. He was both a naval flight officer and naval aviator who flew the F-4 Phantom, OA-4 Skyhawk, and F/A-18 Hornet. In 1983, he was named Outstanding Carrier Aviator of the Year by the Association of Naval Aviation and went on to command Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232, Marine Aircraft Group 31, and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. He also served in a wide range of Marine and joint billets including as assistant program manager for engineering, F/A-18 Naval Air Systems Command; deputy, Aviation Plans, Policy, and Budgets, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps; and director, Force Structure, Resources and Assessment, J-8, Joint Staff.

    General Cartwright graduated with distinction from the Air Command and Staff College, received an M.A. in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College, completed a fellowship with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was honored with a Naval War College Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award. Unique among Marines, General Cartwright served as commander, U.S. Strategic Command, before being nominated and appointed as the eighth vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s second-highest military officer. During his four-year tenure as vice chairman, across two presidential administrations and constant military operations against diverse and evolving enemies, General Cartwright became widely recognized for his technical acumen, vision of future national security concepts, and keen ability to integrate systems, organizations, and people in ways that encourage creativity and spark innovation in the areas of strategic deterrence, nuclear proliferation, missile defense, cyber security, and adaptive acquisition processes.