Military Wiki
James E. Cartwright
Cartwright in August 2007
Nickname "Hoss"[1]
Born September 22, 1949(1949-09-22) (age 73)
Place of birth Rockford, Illinois, U.S.
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1971–2011
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General
Commands held Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 (1992)
Marine Aircraft Group 31 (1994–1996)
1st Marine Aircraft Wing (2000–2002)
United States Strategic Command (2004–2007)
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Awards Naval Aviator insignia
Naval Flight Officer insignia
Defense Distinguished Service Medal (4)

James E. "Hoss" Cartwright (born September 22, 1949) is a retired United States Marine Corps four-star general who last served as the eighth Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from August 31, 2007 to August 3, 2011. He previously served as the Commander, U.S. Strategic Command, from September 1, 2004 to August 10, 2007, and as Acting Commander, U.S. Strategic Command from July 9, 2004 to September 1, 2004. He retired from the Marine Corps on August 3, 2011 after nearly 40 years of service.

However, in June 2013, it was made known (by unspecified legal sources) that he had been placed under a U.S. Justice Department investigation, in its early stages, having to do with an alleged leak of classified information regarding the Stuxnet virus, designed to target and (at least temporarily) disable Iranian nuclear centrifuges, as part of Operation Olympic Games. His attorney, Greg Craig, a former White House Counsel, stated that he had no comment; the White House and the U.S. Justice Department also declined to comment. The role that Cartwright may have played was not specified.[2]

Early life and education

Cartwright was born on September 22, 1949 in Rockford, Illinois and attended West High School before going on to the University of Iowa.[1]


President George W. Bush (at lectern) announces the nominations of Cartwright (far left) and Michael Mullen (second from left) to be Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, respectively, on June 28, 2007

Cartwright was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in November 1971. He attended Naval Flight Officer training and graduated in April 1973. He attended Naval Aviator training and graduated in January 1977. He has operational assignments as an Naval Flight Officer in the F-4, and as a pilot in the F-4, OA-4, and F/A-18.[3] His callsign comes from the fictional character Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright, the middle brother on the classic 1960s TV show Bonanza, who was played by actor Dan Blocker.

Cartwright's operational assignments include: Commanding General, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (2000–2002), Deputy Commanding General Marine Forces Atlantic (1999–2000), Commander Marine Aircraft Group 31 (1994–1996), Commander Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 (1992), Fixed Wing Operations Marine Aircraft Group 24 (1991), Commander Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 (1989–1990), Administration Officer and Officer-In-Charge Deployed Carrier Operations VMFAT-101 (1983–1985), Aircraft Maintenance Officer VMFA-235 (1979–1982), Line Division Officer VMFA-333 USS Nimitz (1975–1977), Embarkation OIC VMFA-251 & 232 (1973–1975).[3]

Cartwright's staff assignments include: Director for Force Structure, Resources and Assessment, J-8 the Joint Staff (2002–2004); Directorate for Force Structure, Resources and Assessment, J-8 the Joint Staff (1996–1999); Deputy Aviation Plans, Policy, and Budgets Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps (1993–1994); Assistant Program Manager for Engineering, F/A-18 Naval Air Systems Command (1986–1989).[3]

Cartwright was named the Outstanding Carrier Aviator by the Association of Naval Aviation in 1983. He graduated with distinction from the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB 1986, and received his Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island 1991. In 2008, he was honored with Naval War College Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award. He was selected for and completed a fellowship with Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994.[3]

From July 9, 2004 to September 1, 2004, Lieutenant General Cartwight served as Acting Commander, U.S. Strategic Command while awaiting official assumption of office and promotion as Strategic Command's new commander. On September 1, 2004, Cartwright was sworn in as Commander, U.S. Strategic Command.[4] He was promoted to full general on the same day.[5]

(Jan. 28, 2009) President Barack Obama, with Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force chief of staff; Gen. George W. Casey, U.S. Army chief of staff; Gen. James E. Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during the President's first visit to the Pentagon as the Commander-in-Chief.

Cartwright (left) and Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. England watching the progress of an SM-3 anti-ballistic missile in 2008

On June 8, 2007, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates recommended Cartwright to be the next Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to replace retiring Admiral Edmund Giambastiani; President George W. Bush formally announced the nomination, with that of Admiral Michael Mullen to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on June 28, 2007.[6]

Senator John Warner of Virginia, the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, stated, "General Cartwright has an extraordinary grasp and understanding of the global posture that America must maintain in this era of new and ever-changing threats."[7]

Cartwright's nomination was confirmed by the full Senate on August 3, 2007. Due to the retirement of Admiral Giambastiani on July 27, 2007, Cartwright assumed the position immediately upon confirmation.[8] He was sworn in on August 31, 2007 as the 8th Vice Chairman.[9] On March 18, 2009, Secretary of Defense Gates announced that Cartwright had been nominated for a second term as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.[10] He was confirmed by the Senate on July 31, 2009.[11]

The military investigated Cartwright in 2009 and 2010 for possible misconduct involving a female Marine captain, and investigators recommended administrative action for "failure to discipline a subordinate" and "fostering an unduly familiar relationship". Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, however, reviewed the evidence and found it insufficient to warrant corrective action for even the lesser offenses. He stated, “I do not agree with the conclusion that General Cartwright maintained an ‘unduly familiar relationship’ with his aide. Nor do I agree that General Cartwright’s execution of his leadership responsibilities vis-à-vis his aide or any other member of his staff was inconsistent with the leadership requirements.”.[12] "[Q]uestions about how he oversaw his staff," however, were mentioned as a reason Cartwright had fallen out as favored candidate of President Obama for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2011. Army chief Gen. Martin Dempsey was named to the post. "Some Republicans [had] ... quietly criticized Gen. Cartwright, calling him 'Obama's general,'" one report at the time also said.[13]

Cartwright held his retirement ceremony on August 3, 2011. During the ceremony, Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III presented Cartwright his fourth Defense Distinguished Service Medal. He also will receive the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard distinguished service medals.[14]


Naval Aviator Badge.jpg
Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Gold star
Gold star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Silver star
Naval Aviator insignia
Naval Flight Officer insignia
Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
Defense Distinguished Service Medal w/ 3 oak leaf clusters Navy Distinguished Service Medal Army Distinguished Service Medal Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal Legion of Merit w/ 1 award star Meritorious Service Medal Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/ 1 award star
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal Joint Meritorious Unit Award w/ 4 oak leaf clusters Navy Unit Commendation Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation w/ 2 service stars
National Defense Service Medal w/ 2 service stars Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Korea Defense Service Medal Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ 5 service stars

Post-Retirement Work

General (retired) Cartwright currently serves as the inaugural holder of the Harold Brown Chair in Defense Policy Studies for the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In addition, General Cartwright serves as a member of The Raytheon Company Board of Directors,[15] a Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center,[16] and as a defense consultant for ABC News[17] General Cartwright is an advisor for several corporate entities involved in global management consulting; technology services and program solutions; predictive and Big Data Analytics; and advanced systems engineering, integration, and decision-support services. He serves as an advisor to the Board of Directors for Accenture Federal Services, Enlightenment Capital, IxReveal, Logos Technologies, Opera Solutions, and TASC Inc. He is also affiliated with a number of professional organizations to include the Aspen Strategy Group, The Atlantic Council, Nuclear Threat Initiative, and The Sanya Initiative.

General Cartwright is also a leading advocate for the phased and verified elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide[18] ("Global Zero (campaign)"). In October 2011, he spoke at the Global Zero Summit at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California,[19] and currently serves as Chair of the Global Zero U.S. Nuclear Policy Commission, which in May 2012 released its report, "Modernizing U.S. Nuclear Force Structure and Policy," calling for the United States and Russia to reduce their nuclear arsenals 80% to 900 total weapons each, which would pave the way to bringing other nuclear weapons countries into the first-in-history multilateral nuclear arms negotiations.[20]

Previous Civilian Positions

Oct 2011 - Jan 2013: Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee Member[21]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Bush, President George W. (June 28, 2007). "President Bush Nominates Admiral Michael Mullen and General James Cartwright to Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff". Office of the Press Secretary, The White House. Retrieved August 28, 2008. 
  2. Isikoff, Michael (27 June 2013). "Ex-Pentagon general target of leak investigation, sources say". NBC News. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Official Biography: General James E. Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff". U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved May 16, 2006. 
  4. "General James E. Cartwright, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command" (Official Biography). United States Marine Corps. August 30, 2004. Archived from the original on June 14, 2006. Retrieved May 16, 2006. 
  5. "Public Directory of: U.S. Marine Corps General Officers & Senior Executives", U.S. Marine Corps, January 8, 2008.
  6. McMichael, William H. (June 8, 2007). "Gates taps new JCS chairman, vice chair". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved June 9, 2007. 
  7. Starr, Barbara and Suzanne Malveaux (June 8, 2007). "Pace leaving as Joint Chiefs chairman". CNN. Retrieved June 9, 2007. 
  8. Tan, Michelle (March 18, 2009). "Mullen, Cartwright nominated for 2nd terms". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved March 18, 2009. 
  9. U.S. Senate Legislation & Records Home Nominations Confirmed (Non-Civilian)
  10. Shanker, Thom (February 23, 2011). "General James Cartwright Is Cleared of Sex Accusations". The New York Times. 
  11. Entous, Adam, "Top Officer in Army to Lead Joint Chiefs", The Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
  12. "Panetta Honors Cartwright During Farewell Tribute" American Forces Press Service, Aug. 3, 2011, Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  13. "James E. Cartwright Elected to Raytheon Board of Directors". Raytheon. 27 January 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  14. Smith, James (2 October 2012). "Former Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman James Cartwright Appointed Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center". Harvard Kennedy School. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  15. Ford, David (21 May 2012). "General Cartwright (USMC ret.) and General Chiarelli (USA ret.) Join ABC News". ABC News. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  16. Shanker, Thom (15 May 2012). "Former Commander of U.S. Nuclear Forces Calls for Large Cut in Warheads". Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  17. Willer-Allred, Michele (11 October 2011). "Global Zero Summit pushes to reduce nuclear weapons". Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  18. "Towards a More Disarmed World". The Financial Times. 15 May 2012.,Authorised=false.html? Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  19. "DOD Announces New Defense Policy Board Members". U.S. Department of Defense. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Edmund P. Giambastiani
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Succeeded by
James A. Winnefeld, Jr.
Preceded by
James O. Ellis
Commander, United States Strategic Command
Succeeded by
Kevin P. Chilton

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