Admiral James O. Ellis Jr.

Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow
Biography: 

James O. Ellis Jr. retired as president and chief executive officer of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 18, 2012.

INPO, sponsored by the commercial nuclear industry, is an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the highest levels of safety and reliability--to promote excellence--in the operation of nuclear electric-generating plants.

In 2004, Admiral Ellis completed a distinguished thirty-nine-year navy career as commander of the United States Strategic Command during a time of challenge and change. In this role, he was responsible for the global command and control of United States strategic and space forces, reporting directly to the secretary of defense.

A 1969 graduate of the US Naval Academy, Admiral Ellis was designated a naval aviator in 1971. His service as a navy fighter pilot included tours with two fighter squadrons and assignment as commanding officer of an F/A-18 strike/fighter squadron. In 1991, he assumed command of the USS Abraham Lincoln, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. After selection to rear admiral, in 1996 he served as a carrier battle group commander leading contingency response operations in the Taiwan Straits.

His shore assignments included numerous senior military staff tours including commander in chief, US Naval Forces, Europe, and commander in chief, Allied Forces, Southern Europe, during a time of historic NATO expansion. He led United States and NATO forces in combat and humanitarian operations during the 1999 Kosovo crisis.

Ellis holds a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and, in 2005, was inducted into the school’s Engineering Hall of Fame. He completed United States Navy Nuclear Power Training and was qualified in the operation and maintenance of naval nuclear propulsion plants. He is a graduate of the Navy Test Pilot School and the Navy Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun). In 2013, Ellis was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

In 2009 he completed three years of service as a presidential appointee on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and, in 2006, was a member of the Military Advisory Panel to the Iraq Study Group.

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Recent Commentary

Lessons From The Hoover Policy Boot CampFeatured

The Role Of Commercial Nuclear Energy In A National Energy Policy With James Ellis Jr.

by Admiral James O. Ellis Jr.via PolicyEd
Thursday, August 1, 2019

The United States has achieved energy independence for the first time in decades, which allows us to ability to step back and shape our future national energy policy. Nuclear energy is one form of energy that has significant advantages, including zero-emissions and grid stability. Renewable energy is also low-carbon, but has drawbacks that nuclear power can compensate for. Because every energy source brings its advantage and challenges, it is essential to move forward with a mix of energy sources.

IntellectionsFeatured

Nuclear Power: The Clean Energy Everyone Overlooks

by Admiral James O. Ellis Jr.via PolicyEd
Monday, March 25, 2019

As the world continues to shift toward low-carbon energy sources, a closer look makes it clear that nuclear power has to be included in order to reduce carbon emissions. Until the problem of long-term power storage is solved, nuclear will remain the only zero carbon base load power source. Given how clean and reliable it is compared to its alternatives, it is far too early to take nuclear power off the table.

Observations From The Roundtable

Observations from the Roundtable: Emerging Technology And America’s National Security

by Admiral James O. Ellis Jr., George P. Shultzvia Governance In An Emerging New World
Monday, February 25, 2019

When looking at the security environment, we are reminded of President Reagan’s approach to dealing with a complex and dangerous world. The first order of business was to be realistic about the world around you. Then you had to be strong in all senses of the term—military, economically, politically, and in national spirit. Finally, as you went out into the world, you had to set your objectives—know what you want—and focus on that agenda. It was a wise, and ultimately successful approach.

Blueprint for AmericaFeatured

Redefining Energy Security: Blueprint For America

by Admiral James O. Ellis Jr.via PolicyEd
Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The United States is close to achieving energy independence for the first time in decades, but it should go further to achieve energy security.

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Rightsize the Navy

by Admiral James O. Ellis Jr.via Hoover Digest
Monday, July 9, 2018

If we continue to build ships that cost too much and do too little, we’ll be sunk.

Blueprint for AmericaFeatured

Restoring Our National Security

by Admiral James O. Ellis Jr., General Jim Mattis, Kori Schakevia PolicyEd
Wednesday, February 28, 2018

For the past twenty years, the United States has been operating mostly unguided by a coherent security strategy. As a result, we have been too reactive to events and crises. To effectively manage our national security, we need a strategy that is clearly defined, communicated, and supported.

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Chain Reactions

by Admiral James O. Ellis Jr., George P. Shultzvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 26, 2018

Before we jettison nuclear energy, let's count the costs: to the economy, to the environment, and to national security.

Featured CommentaryFeatured

Cornstalks, Calvinball, And The Bridges At Toko Ri: Rightsizing The U.S. Navy

by Admiral James O. Ellis Jr.via Strategika
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The main street of Washington, Georgia, is called Toombs Avenue in honor of the Georgia senator and Civil War general who was born nearby. In promoting the South’s secession as the war approached, Toombs reportedly claimed, “We can beat those Yankees with cornstalks!”

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The Benefits Of Nuclear Power

by Admiral James O. Ellis Jr., George P. Shultzvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, August 9, 2017

It won’t solve our energy problems, but our energy problems can’t be solved without it.

Admiral James O. Ellis: Nuclear Energy, Stanford and SLAC 2016

by Admiral James O. Ellis Jr.
Thursday, October 20, 2016

Admiral James O. Ellis discusses nuclear energy at Stanford University.

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