Vice Admiral James Syring is from Muncie, Indiana. A 1985 graduate of the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Engineering, he received his commission as an ensign. Subsequent to commissioning, he was designated an engineering duty officer. In 1992, Syring earned his Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Naval Post Graduate School.
Ashore, Syring served in numerous engineering duty officer assignments including: ship superintendent for USS Port Royal (CG 73); Aegis test officer for new construction DDG 51 class ships; combat systems, test and trials officer in the DDG 51 Aegis Shipbuilding Program Office; Combat Systems Baseline manager in the Aegis Technical Division; director for Surface Combatants, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition). Syring served as the technical director for the U.S. Navy’s DDG 1000 Shipbuilding Program and followed that tour as the DDG 1000 major program manager.
Upon selection to flag rank in 2010, Syring served as the program executive officer for Integrated Warfare Systems, responsible for acquiring, developing, delivering and sustaining integrated weapons systems for ships, submarines, carriers and aircraft within the Fleet and Joint Force.
In November 2012, Vice Admiral Syring became the 9th director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Office of the Secretary of Defense, Pentagon, Washington, D.C. In this capacity, he oversees the MDA's worldwide mission to develop a capability to defend deployed forces, the United States, allies, and friends against ballistic missile attacks.
Syring’s personal awards include the Distinguished Service medal, Legion of Merit (2 awards), the Meritorious Service medal (4 awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal, and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal.