Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced today that President Barack Obama has nominated U. S. Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno for re-appointment to the rank of general with assignment as commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM).
Located in Norfolk, Va., USJFCOM oversees a force of more than 1.16 million dedicated men and women, spanning USJFCOM's service component commands and subordinate activities. The command includes active and reserve personnel from each branch of the armed forces and civilian and contract employees.
Pending confirmation by the U.S. Senate, Odierno will oversee UFJFCOM's roles in joint concept development and experimentation, joint capability development, joint training, and force provision and management as outlined in the Department of Defense's Unified Command Plan.
If confirmed, Odierno will replace Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis later this year; currently, Odierno commands U.S. Forces - Iraq, a post he has held since September 2008.
He returned to Iraq and assumed command of USF-I less than seven months after completing a 15-month deployment with III Corps and commanding general of Multi-National Corps-Iraq from December 2006 to February 2008. As the day-to-day commander of coalition forces in Iraq, Odierno was the operational architect of the surge and implemented the counterinsurgency strategy that led to the dramatic decrease in violence in Iraq in 2007 and 2008.
A native of New Jersey, Odierno graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1976 with a commission in field artillery. During more than 33 years of service, he commanded units at every echelon, from platoon to theater, with duty in Germany, Albania, Kuwait, Iraq, and the United States. After his first assignment with U.S. Army Europe, Odierno was assigned to the XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he commanded two batteries and served as a battalion operations officer.
Following advanced civilian and military schooling, Odierno returned to U.S. Army Europe and the 7th Army, serving as a battalion executive officer, division artillery executive officer, and brigade executive officer, deploying in that capacity for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He later commanded 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery, 7th Infantry Division, and the division artillery of the 1st Cavalry Division. From October 2001 to June 2004, he commanded the 4th Infantry Division, leading the division throughout the first year of Operation Iraqi Freedom from April 2003 to March 2004. The unit was headquartered in the Sunni triangle north of Baghdad, and soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division captured former President Saddam Hussein near Tikrit in December 2003.
His other significant assignments include arms control officer, Office of the Secretary of Defense; chief of staff, V Corps; assistant division commander (support), 1st Armored Division; deputy commanding general, Task Force Hawk, Albania; director of force management, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans; and assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C., where he was the primary military advisor to Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. During this time, he accompanied the Secretary of State on all diplomatic journeys and state visits, traveling over 335,000 miles and visiting over 65 countries, while attending international events ranging from NATO and APEC Summits to Pakistan earthquake relief efforts.
He has a bachelor of science degree in engineering from West Point and master's degrees in nuclear effects engineering and national security and strategy from North Carolina State University and the Naval War College, respectively. He also is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College.
Odierno's awards and decorations include two Defense Distinguished Service Medals, two Army Distinguished Service Medals, the Defense Superior Service Medal, six Legions of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, four Meritorious Service Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, and the Combat Action Badge.
He has also received the highest award in the State Department, the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal, and recently the Romanian president awarded Odierno the Romanian Order of Military Merit.
He is the 2009 recipient of the Naval War College Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award for his strategic leadership and insight.