Admiral James Stavridis joined The Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees in 2018. He became Board Chair in June 2021.
A Florida native, Jim Stavridis attended the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, and spent 37 years in the Navy, rising to the rank of 4-star Admiral. Among his many commands were four years as the 16th Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, where he oversaw operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the Balkans, and counter piracy off the coast of Africa. He also commanded US Southern Command in Miami, charged with military operations through Latin America for nearly three years. He was the longest serving Combatant Commander in recent U.S. history. Following his military career, he served for five years as the 12th Dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
In the course of his career in the Navy, he served as senior military assistant to the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of Defense. He led the Navy’s premier operational think tank for innovation, Deep Blue, immediately after the 9/11 attacks. Admiral Stavridis was promoted directly from 1-star rank to 3-star rank in 2004.
He won the Battenberg Cup for commanding the top ship in the Atlantic Fleet and the Navy League John Paul Jones Award for Inspirational leadership, along with more than 50 U.S. and international medals and decorations, including 28 from foreign nations. He also commanded a Destroyer Squadron and a Carrier Strike Group, both in combat.
In 2016, he was vetted for Vice President by Secretary Hillary Clinton, and subsequently invited to Trump Tower to discuss a cabinet position with President Donald Trump.
He earned a PhD from The Fletcher School at Tufts, winning the Gullion prize as outstanding student in his class in 1983, as well as academic honors from the National and Naval War Colleges as a distinguished student. He speaks Spanish and French.
Admiral Stavridis has published twelve books on leadership, character, risk, the oceans, maritime affairs, and Latin America, as well as hundreds of articles in leading journals. An active user of social networks, he has tens of thousands of connections on the social networks. His TED talk on 21st century security in 2012 has close to one million views. He tweeted the end of combat operations in the Libyan NATO intervention. Two of his most popular books are “Sailing True North: Ten Admirals and the Voyage of Character” published in 2019 and the novel “2034: A Novel of the Next World War” in 2021, which was a New York Times bestseller and is being published in 22 languages. His most recent book is “To Risk It All: Nine Conflicts and The Crucible of Decision.”
Admiral Stavridis is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist and Chief International Security Analyst for NBC News.
He is happily married to Laura, and they have two daughters – one working at Google and the other a Nurse Practitioner and former naval officer, both married to physicians.