Officially In: Brig. General James B. Smith to Riyadh

Photo from Published State/OIG Report

On June 4th, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Brigadier General James B. Smith to be Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Official bio released by the White House below:

Brigadier General Smith (USAF, Ret.) is International Business Development Executive, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems. Previous assignments at Raytheon include Vice President of Government Business in Wichita, Kansas, and Vice President of Precision Engagement in Tucson, Arizona. Prior to joining Raytheon, he was director of Navy C2 programs for Lockheed Martin Mission Systems.

Gen. Smith served as deputy commander at the Joint Warfighting Center of the U.S. Joint Forces Command in Suffolk, Virginia, where he was responsible for managing the joint force exercise and training development program. General Smith’s distinguished aviation career includes combat sorties during Desert Storm. He commanded the 94th Tactical Fighter Squadron and 325th Operations Group. He served as the CSAF chair at the National War College and as Vice Director of Operations for the North American Air Defense Command. Gen. Smith previously served as commander of the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base in Japan.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in military history from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a Master’s degree in history from Indiana University. Gen. Smith is a distinguished graduate of the Naval War College, the Air Command and Staff College and the National War College.

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Gen. Smith was one of the flag officers who endorsed then Senator Obama in March 2008: “I spent a career involved in coalition warfare, and I am keenly aware of the importance of working with allies,” said Brigadier General (Ret.) James Smith (USAF). “Senator Obama brings a powerful approach to dealing with national security challenges by truly leveraging multinational relationships. He brings a new face of America to the rest of the world.”

If confirmed, Gen. Smith would replace Ford M. Fraker, who was appointed US Ambassador during President Bush’s second term.

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