Ambassador John Abizaid retired from the United States Army in 2007. During his thirty-four year military career he rose from infantry platoon leader to four-star general and became the longest-serving commander of United States Central Command. In addition to his command position in the field, in the Pentagon he served as the Director of Strategic Plans and Policy on the Joint Staff and then Director of the Joint Staff from 2000 – 2003.
Throughout his career he had extensive exposure to the Middle East as a military officer and scholar. As CENTCOM Commander he regularly dealt with the region’s military and civilian leadership.
Since his retirement from the army, Ambassador Abizaid worked as a private consultant, forming his own consulting company, JPA Partners, LLC. He was the first Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University in May, 2007 and held the Distinguished Chair of the Combating Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He has worked with the Preventative Defense Project at Stanford University and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and has been part of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, among many other responsibilities. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He recently served as the senior advisor for the Secretary of Defense to the Ukrainian Minister of Defense.
Ambassador Abizaid was a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, receiving his B.S. in 1973. He received a Master’s Degree in Middle Eastern Area Studies from Harvard University in 1981. General Abizaid is a highly decorated officer who has been awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star. He holds military honors from numerous nations including: Germany, France, Australia, Afghanistan and Egypt.
Ambassador Abizaid was sworn in as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in April 2019.