Former U.S. Central Command Chief General John Abizaid Appointed Hoover Distinguished Visiting Fellow

Monday, May 7, 2007

STANFORD—General John Philip Abizaid, U.S. Army (Ret.), has been named the first Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His appointment was announced by Hoover director John Raisian.
“We are delighted that General Abizaid will join the Hoover Institution on June 1 as a distinguished visiting fellow. His knowledge and experience in the national security arena are incredible, and we look forward to engaging him in a number of important Hoover projects over the course of the coming year,” Raisian said. “Moreover, we look forward to having him back with us. During 1992–93, while still a lieutenant colonel, he was a national security fellow at the Hoover Institution where he worked on a project, titled ‘Peacekeeping and America’s Armed Forces.’”
The grant from the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Fund, made in honor of former secretary of state and Hoover distinguished fellow George P. Shultz, endows the position. While serving as the first Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Abizaid will focus on the fields of national security and foreign policy.
Abizaid is the former commander of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), overseeing 250,000 U.S. troops conducting military operations in a 27-country region, from the Horn of Africa, to the Arabian Peninsula, to South and Central Asia, and covering much of the Middle East. Abizaid succeeded General Tommy Franks as commander, U.S. CENTCOM, on July 7, 2003, and was elevated to the rank of four-star general the same week. Abizaid was succeeded by Admiral William J. Fallon on March 16, 2007.
Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the infantry on graduation from the United States Military Academy in June 1973, Abizaid began his career with the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he served as a rifle and scout platoon leader. He commanded companies in the 2nd and 1st Ranger Battalions, leading a Ranger rifle company during the invasion of Grenada.
Abizaid commanded the 3rd Battalion, 325th Airborne Battalion combat team, in Vicenza, Italy, during the gulf crisis and deployed with that battalion to Kurdistan in northern Iraq. His brigade command was the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division. He served as the assistant division commander, 1st Armored Division, in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Following that tour, he served as the 66th commandant at West Point. Later he commanded the 1st Infantry Division, the “Big Red One,” in Wurzburg, which provided the first ground forces in Kosovo. He served as the deputy commander (forward), Combined Forces Command, U.S. Central Command, during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Staff assignments included a tour with the United Nations as operations officer for Observer Group Lebanon and a tour in the Office of the Chief of the Staff, U.S. Army. European staff tours included assignments in both the Southern European Task Force and Headquarters, U.S. Army Europe. General Abizaid also served as executive assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as director of strategic plans and policy (J5) on the Joint Staff, and as director of the Joint Staff.
Abizaid’s military education includes infantry officer basic and advanced courses at the Armed Forces Staff College and a U.S. Army War College Senior Fellowship at the Hoover Institution. In his civilian studies, he earned a master of arts degree in area studies at Harvard University and was an Olmsted Scholar at the University of Jordan in Amman, Jordan. While in Jordan, he studied Arabic and received special forces training. Born in Coleville, California, Abizaid is fluent in Arabic and was the most senior U.S. military officer of direct Arab descent.
His decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with five Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Bronze Star. He also earned the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Master Parachutist Badge with Gold Star, Ranger Tab, and the Expert Infantryman’s Badge.