WASHINGTON, May 30, 2011 — Navy Adm. James A. “Sandy” Winnefeld, President Barack Obama’s pick to be the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has a combination of battlefield experience and headquarters expertise.
Winnefeld will succeed Marine Corps Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright, if the Senate confirms him. He currently serves as commander of U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The admiral was the captain of the USS Enterprise when the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 occurred. The aircraft carrier had finished its mission and was heading home. Withour orders, Winnefeld turned the carrier around and was in position to launch strikes on al-Qaida. The Enterprise air group flew almost 700 combat sorties in Operation Enduring Freedom.
The admiral received his commission as a naval aviator after graduating with high honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1978. He flew F‑14 Tomcat jets and commanded fighter squadron VF-211. He later commanded the USS Cleveland – an amphibious transport ship – before commanding the Enterprise.
Winnefeld, now 55, also commanded the USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group in actions supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He then commanded the U.S. 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. The job also called on him to command the Striking and Support Forces NATO and as the deputy commander for U.S. Naval Forces, Europe.
In the Pentagon, he served as director for strategic plans and policy on The Joint Staff.
Other shore tours include being an action officer in the Joint Staff Operations Directorate, as senior aide to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as the executive assistant to the vice chief of naval operations.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)