Military Wiki

Joseph W. Westphal
Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Assumed office
March 26, 2014
President Barack Obama
Preceded by James B. Smith
United States Under Secretary of the Army

In office
September 21, 2009 – March 2014
Appointed by Barack Obama
Preceded by Nelson M. Ford
Succeeded by Brad Carson
Personal details
Born January 26, 1948(1948-01-26) (age 74)
Santiago, Chile
Profession United States Army administrator
College administrator
College professor

Joseph W. Westphal (born January 26, 1948) is the current United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He served as the 30th United States Under Secretary of the Army from 2009-2014.

Early life and education

Westphal was born in Santiago, Chile.[1] He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Adelphi University in New York[2] and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Missouri.[3]


Westphal served as the head of the Department of Political Science at Oklahoma State University between 1975 and 1987 and as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University while working at the law firm of Patton Boggs.[4] He served as Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works from 1998 to 2001 and the Acting Secretary of the Army in 2001.[5] He also served as Chancellor of the University of Maine System[1] from 2002 - 2006 and was a professor of Political Science at the University of Maine from 2002 - 2009.[6] He later served as the Provost, at The New School in New York City.[7]

Westphal was a member of President Obama’s Transition Team for Defense[8] and was appointed as the United States Under Secretary of the Army in September, 2009. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia on March 26, 2014 and sworn in the same day.[9][10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Heil, Emily (21 October 2013). "Senior Army official said to be in line for Saudi ambassadorship". Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  2. Cohen, Ruth-Ellen (19 October 2002). "An Army of One; New UMS chancellor already making mark on state education scene". Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  3. "U.S. army undersecretary picked to be next Saudi envoy". 8 November 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  4. Cohen, Ruth-Ellen (7 February 2002). "Westphal selected for UMS top post; Ex-Army official unanimous choice". Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  5. William Gardner Bell. Secretaries of war and secretaries of the army: portr. & biograph. sketches. Government Printing Office. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-16-087635-6. 
  6. "Looking for needles in a federal haystack". 7 November 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  7. Santora, Marc; Foderaro, Lisa W. (11 December 2008). "New School Faculty Votes No Confidence in Kerrey". Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  8. Knickmeyer, Ellen (8 November 2013). "U.S. Army undersecretary picked to be Saudi envoy.". Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  9. "Obama and Biden have managed to get a few ambassador confirmations while on the road". 27 March 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  10. "Joseph W. Westphal". Embassy of the United States, Riyadh Saudi Arabia. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
Government offices
Preceded by
Martin Lancaster
Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works)
June 1998 – March 2001
Succeeded by
Michael Parker
Preceded by
Louis Caldera
Gregory R. Dahlberg (acting)
United States Secretary of the Army (acting)
March 5, 2001 – May 31, 2001
Succeeded by
Thomas E. White
Preceded by
Nelson M. Ford
United States Under Secretary of the Army
September 21, 2009 – 2014
Succeeded by
Brad Carson
Preceded by
James B. Smith
United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Succeeded by

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