General John Allen (USMC, Ret.), Former ISAF Commander, Joins Brookings as Distinguished Fellow

Washington, D.C. – General John Allen (USMC Ret.), former commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, has joined the Brookings Institution as a distinguished fellow, President Strobe Talbott announced today.

At Brookings, General Allen will affiliate with the Foreign Policy program, specifically the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence (21CSI).

“We are honored that General Allen has joined the Brookings ranks as a distinguished fellow,” Talbott said. “He has served our country and the U.S. military with distinction for more than 35 years. We look forward to his contributions to public policy work at Brookings.”

General Allen, who recently retired from the U.S. armed forces after completing a 19 month tour as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, brings a strong intellectual and governmental background to Brookings. Allen graduated with military honors from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1976, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in operations analysis. He holds a Master’s degree in national security studies from Georgetown University, a Master’s degree in strategic intelligence from the National Defense Intelligence College, and a Master’s in national security strategy from the National War College.

Allen was recently named senior advisor to the U.S. secretary of defense, focusing on security in the context of Middle East Peace. Among General Allen’s notable accomplishments was the development of the contemporary Infantry Officer Course at Quantico, the premier training regimen for infantry officers in the Marine Corps, and the first and only Marine ever to serve as commandant of midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. General Allen served as director for Asia-Pacific Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, deputy commanding general in al-Anbar province during the “surge” in Iraq, and deputy commander for United States Central Command.

“General Allen is one of the finest military leaders and strategists of his generation,” said Peter Singer, senior fellow and director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence. “He has served his country with great distinction and, now at 21CSI, will serve as a thought leader on defense and security issues.”

Brookings recently launched 21CSI to address the key issues that will shape security policy over the coming decades, from defense policy and new military technology to intelligence-gathering and cybersecurity. Especially relevant to General Allen’s expertise, 21CSI also serves as a hub for collaborative work on security issues with Brookings’ regional studies centers, most notably the Saban Center for Middle East Policy. He has recently published a report on future Afghanistan policy, along with Brookings Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon and former Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy.

Brookings’s distinguished fellows are individuals of particularly noteworthy distinction whose work across several fields of public policy puts them at the pinnacle of worldwide research and policy impact. Distinguished fellows are actively engaged in the life of the Institution, often with more than one of Brookings’s five research programs. In assuming the title, General Allen joins David Dreier, longtime chairman of the Rules Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives; Jean-David Levitte, former French ambassador to the United States; Sadako Ogata, former president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and United Nations high commissioner for refugees; Jon Huntsman, former ambassador to China and Singapore and governor of Utah; Donna Shalala, president of the University of Miami and former U.S. secretary of health and human services; Itamar Rabinovich, an Israeli diplomat, scholar, and university president; Ed Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania; Thomas Pickering, a career U.S. ambassador and former under secretary of state for political affairs; and Javier Solana, former secretary general of NATO and the European Union’s high representative for foreign and security policy.