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), located 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 39-year Navy career. His final assignment was 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 U.S. Naval Academy, Admiral Ellis was designated a Naval aviator in 1971.  His service as a Navy fighter pilot included tours with two carrier-based 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; senior command positions included Commander in Chief, U.S. 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.

Mr. 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, Mr. 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, he was a member of the Military Advisory Panel to the Iraq Study Group.

Mr. Ellis currently serves as an Annenberg Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University where he also holds an appointment as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Management Science and Engineering. A former Chairman of the Board of the Space Foundation, in 2018 he was appointed Chairman of the User’s Advisory Group to the Vice President’s National Space Council. He is the former Chairman of the Board of Level 3 Communications and serves on the board of directors of the Lockheed Martin Corporation and Dominion Resources, Inc.

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Recent Commentary

The World Is Not Getting Safer

by Kori Schake, General Jim Mattis, Admiral James O. Ellis Jr., Joseph Feltervia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 26, 2021

Why the Biden administration needs to recommit the country to the defense of our allies.

Analysis and Commentary

What Are We Waiting For? The Need For Stronger International Nuclear Energy Relationships.

by Admiral James O. Ellis Jr., Sonja D. Schmidvia The Bulletin
Thursday, March 11, 2021

In the weeks after the Fukushima disaster, the then-CEO of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (and one of the authors) made a passionate call for the creation of “a robust, highly capable response team with pre-staged equipment interoperable both domestically and internationally.” In the decade since, the nuclear industry and those who regulate it have come a long way in many countries but, arguably, still haven’t made sufficient progress in cultivating and codifying effective, trusting, and transparent international relationships.

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Historical Progression of Cyber Strategy

interview with Admiral James O. Ellis Jr., Michael Warner, Emily Goldman, Jacquelyn Schneidervia Hoover Podcasts
Friday, February 12, 2021

The Hoover Institution hosted a cyber chat session on February 12, which focuses on the Historical Progression of Cyber Strategy and looks at how US defense cyber strategy has evolved over the last ten years and what paradigms might guide future strategy.

Featured

Defense In Depth

by Kori Schake, General Jim Mattis, Admiral James O. Ellis Jr., Joseph Feltervia Foreign Affairs
Monday, November 23, 2020

Why U.S. Security Depends on Alliances—Now More Than Ever

A Game of Finesse

by Admiral James O. Ellis Jr.via Hoover Digest
Monday, October 19, 2020

“Cut and run” or “stay the course” in the Middle East? This is a false choice. We should think instead in terms of a continuum of ways to use both soft power and hard.

Analysis and Commentary

Ending China’s Chokehold On Rare-Earth Minerals

by General Jim Mattis, Admiral James O. Ellis Jr., Joseph Felter, Kori Schakevia Bloomberg
Friday, September 18, 2020

The U.S. and allies can break Beijing’s monopoly on elements vital to electronics and national defense.

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A fresh look, through a broad lens, to help navigate the emerging security landscape

by Admiral James O. Ellis Jr., George P. Shultzvia Analysis
Tuesday, September 1, 2020

A Letter from the Conveners of the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security: A fresh look, through a broad lens, to help navigate the emerging security landscape.

Featured CommentaryAnalysis and Commentary

Leaving The Middle East: The Fallacy Of A False Dichotomy

by Admiral James O. Ellis Jr.via Strategika
Tuesday, March 31, 2020

In classical logic, the false dichotomy, or false dilemma, is defined as an argument where only two choices are presented yet more exist, or a spectrum of possible choices exists between two extremes. False dilemmas are usually characterized by “either this or that” language but can also be characterized by the omission of choices. This insidious tactic has the appearance of forming a logical argument, but under closer scrutiny it becomes evident that there are more possibilities than the either/or choice that is presented.

Energy Policy Insight

by Daniel Heil featuring the work of Admiral James O. Ellis Jr., Michael J. Boskin, James L. Sweeneyvia Policy Insights | A Succinct Guide to Important Policy Questions
Thursday, February 20, 2020

Over the last quarter century, the United States has experienced a dramatic transformation. With little fanfare, an energy revolution has occurred that has profoundly altered the nation’s economy, its national security, and its environment.

Policy InsightsFeatured

Energy Policy Insight

by Admiral James O. Ellis Jr., Michael J. Boskin, James L. Sweeney, Daniel Heilvia PolicyEd
Thursday, February 20, 2020

Over the last quarter century, the United States has experienced a dramatic transformation. With little fanfare, an energy revolution has occurred that has profoundly altered the nation’s economy, its national security, and its environment. No longer beholden to foreign nations to meet its energy demands, the United States now produces more energy than it consumes.

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