Admiral James A. "Sandy" Winnefeld, U.S. Navy (Retired), graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in Aerospace Engineering and received his commission through the NROTC program. He began his naval service as a fighter pilot, flying the F-14 Tomcat during several deployments to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf regions, and serving as an instructor at the Navy Fighter Weapons School, also known as Topgun. During this period he also was senior aide to General Colin L. Powell.

After fighter squadron command, he graduated from the Navy’s nuclear power school and subsequently commanded USS Cleveland (LPD-7) and USS Enterprise (CVN-65). He also led the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group while supporting operations in support of our troops in Iraq. Later he commanded NATO Joint Command Lisbon, Striking and Support Forces NATO, and the United States Sixth Fleet. After serving as the Joint Staff Director of Strategic Plans and Policy, he assumed command of United States Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command. He retired in 2015 after four years serving as the ninth Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the nation’s number two ranking military officer.

A frequently published author, Sandy currently serves as Distinguished Professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech, where he is also a member of the Engineering Hall of Fame. He is a senior non-resident fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He also serves on several boards and in advisory positions in the business community.

Articles by James A. Winnefeld Jr.

Stock image of the surface effects of an underwater explosion

The Other Mine Warfare Will Work

By Admiral James Winnefeld Jr., U.S. Navy (Retired), and Captain Syed Ahmad, Judge Advocate General Corps, U.S. Navy (Retired)
July 2018
The U.S. Navy must strengthen its offensive mine warfare capabilities.
Underwater launching of a Tomahawk SLBM

Bring Back the Nuclear Tomahawks

By Admiral Sandy Winnefeld, U.S. Navy (Retired) and Dr. James N. Miller
May 2017
To bolster nuclear deterrence and assurance of our allies, the now-ongoing Nuclear Posture Review should bring back the TLAM-N.
 Russian Severodvinsk-class nuclear-powered multipurpose attack submarine

Break Out or Fail

By Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr., U.S. Navy (Retired)
April 2017
Our national security landscape is being disrupted. How the United States responds is critical.
Admiral Winnefeld salutes during National POW/MIA Day

'You Have to Be a Good Thinker'

An Interview with Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr., U.S. Navy
August 2015
From NROTC midshipman to Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, this officer read, thought, spoke, and wrote.

Winning the Outer Air Battle

By Lieutenant Commander James A. Winnefeld, Jr., U. S. Navy
August 1989
We don't need to cram our flight decks with defensive assets when other high-leverage opportunities for CVBGs exist now.

Putting the Byte into Tactics

By Lieutenant Commander James A. Winnefeld, Jr., U. S. Navy
April 1989
Although the following discussion focuses on tactics used by the fighter community, PCs hold equal potential for all warfare specialties.
Two F-14 Tomcats go “beak to beak” in the skies near Fallon, Nevada

Topgun: Getting It Right

By Lieutenant James A. Winnefeld, Jr., U. S. Navy
October 1986
We cannot afford to “brush up” tactically at the last minute or to have to learn by many mistakes. Navy TacAir will have to get it right the first time.