News Release

John R. Allen named next Brookings Institution president

October 4, 2017

John R. Allen, a Brookings distinguished fellow, will be the eighth leader in the Institution’s 101-year history.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Brookings Institution announced today that John R. Allen, a retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general and former commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, will become the eighth leader in the Institution’s 101-year history.

Allen currently serves as a Brookings distinguished fellow in the Foreign Policy program and as chair, Security and Strategy. On November 6, he will succeed Strobe Talbott, who will step down as president after more than 15 years of service.

Since Allen joined Brookings in 2013, he has authored or coauthored articles on Afghanistan, Iraq, the fight against ISIL, homeland security and immigration, election security, artificial intelligence, and defense policy. He has participated in forums on Northeast Asian security, U.S.-China-India relations, U.S.-Islamic world relations, the American-Israeli partnership, and future American military policy, among other subjects.

Allen most recently served as special presidential envoy to the global coalition to counter ISIL, and prior to that as the senior advisor to the secretary of defense on Middle East security, during which he led the security dialogue with Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

From July 2011 to February 2013, Allen commanded NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and United States Forces in Afghanistan. His command of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan occurred at a particularly critical period in the war, during which he successfully moved the Afghan National Security Forces into the lead for combat operations and pivoted NATO forces from being a conventional combat force into an advisory command. All of these activities were conducted in contact with the enemy and during active and particularly intense combat operations.

During his nearly 38-year military career, Allen served in a variety of command and staff positions in the Marine Corps and the Joint Force including command assignments up to and including the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. 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 Defense Intelligence College (now National Intelligence University), and a master’s degree in national security strategy from the National War College.

“We are thrilled to welcome John Allen into his new role as the president of the Brookings Institution,” John L. Thornton, chair of the Brookings Board of Trustees, said. “Allen is one of the finest military leaders and strategists of his generation, and during his time at Brookings he has demonstrated a strong commitment to the Institution’s standards of quality, independence, and impact. We know that his proven leadership, integrity, and academic rigor will continue to propel Brookings as the premier source of policy solutions for challenges facing society at the local, national, and global level.”

“In John Allen, Brookings has found a leader who is widely respected for his skill, integrity, and courage,” Talbott said. “As our colleague of the last few years, he has impressed those with whom he worked with his expertise, initiative, collegiality, and collaboration. He has been a boon to our Foreign Policy program, bringing his experience, intellect, and high standards to our scholarship. He has also contributed to the Institution as a whole by upholding its commitment to fact-based analysis, civility of discourse, and nonpartisanship. He is a superb choice to lead Brookings into its second century.”

“Brookings’s work is vitally important,” said Allen. “Throughout my time here, I have been continually impressed by the dedication, objectivity, depth of expertise, and impact of the scholars. Brookings is home to some of the brightest minds addressing the most pressing issues we face today, including economic and domestic challenges, as well as foreign policy and national security matters, and I am looking forward to working with them to advance the mission of the Brookings Institution. Strobe Talbott is an American icon, and I am deeply honored to build on his rich legacy.”

Outgoing president Strobe Talbott will remain at the Institution as a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program.

About Brookings

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to conduct in-depth, nonpartisan research to improve policy and governance at local, national, and global levels.