Admiral James O. Ellis Jr.
US Navy, Retired
Admiral James O. Ellis Jr. completed a distinguished 39-year US Navy career in 2004. 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, cyber, 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 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, 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.
After retiring from the Navy, Admiral Ellis served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) until 2012. Sponsored by the commercial nuclear industry, INPO is an independent nonprofit organization that promotes the highest levels of safety and reliability in the operation of nuclear electric generating plants.
Admiral 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 US 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, he 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. A former Chairman of the Board of the no-profit Space Foundation, in 2018 he was appointed Chairman of the User’s Advisory Group to the Vice President’s National
Space Council where he served until 2022.
Admiral Ellis currently serves as an Annenberg Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University where he oversees the Global Policy and Strategy Initiative: National Security for the 21st Century. He is the former Chairman of the Board of Level 3 Communications and serves on the board of directors of the Lockheed Martin Corporation. He joined Spirit of America’s Board of Advisors in 2023.