Adm. James Winnefeld serves as the ninth Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this capacity, he is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the nation’s second highest-ranking military officer.
Winnefeld graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology and received his commission through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps program. He subsequently served with three fighter squadrons flying the F-14 Tomcat, and as an instructor at the Navy Fighter Weapons School.
Winnefeld’s unit commands at sea include Fighter Squadron 211, USS Cleveland (LPD 7), and USS Enterprise (CVN 65). He led “Big E” through her 18th deployment, which included combat operations in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom immediately after the terrorist acts of Sept. 11, 2001. As Commander, Carrier Strike Group Two/Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, he led Task Forces 50, 152, and 58 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and maritime interception operations in the Arabian Gulf. He also served as commander, United States 6th Fleet; commander NATO Allied Joint Command, Lisbon; and, commander, Striking and Support Forces NATO.
His shore tours include service in the Joint Staff Operations Directorate (J-3), as senior aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as executive assistant to the Vice Chief of Naval Operations. As a flag officer, he served ashore as director, Warfare Programs and Transformational Concepts, United States Fleet Forces Command; as director of Joint Innovation and Experimentation at United States Joint Forces Command; and, as the director for Strategic Plans and Policy (J-5) on the Joint Staff. He most recently served as the commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM).
Winnefeld’s awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, and five Battle Efficiency awards.