John R. Allen is a retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general and former commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. Allen served as Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, a position he held for 14 months. Immediately following retirement from the Marine Corps, Allen was the senior advisor to the secretary of defense on Middle East Security, and in that role, he led the security dialogue with Israel and the Palestinian Authority for 15 months within the Middle East peace process.
Allen commanded the NATO International Security Assistance Force and United States Forces in Afghanistan from July 2011 to February 2013. Allen’s command of the fifty-nation coalition in Afghanistan occurred during a particularly critical period of intense combat in the war.
Apart from his combat tours, General Allen served as the principal director of Asia-Pacific policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In this assignment, he was involved extensively on policy initiatives involving Mongolia, China, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. He was also involved in the Six Party Talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. He played a major role in organizing the relief effort during the South Asian tsunami from 2004 to 2005.
Allen’s contingency and combat operations assignments included the Caribbean in 1994, in the Balkans from 1995 to 1996, in Iraq from 2007 to 2008, and in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2013.
Allen is a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy and was elected as a Fellow to American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was selected as a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and was the first Marine to serve as Commandant of Midshipman at Annapolis.
From 2017 to 2022, General Allen was president of The Brookings Institution.
Allen holds a Bachelor of Science in operations analysis from the U.S. Naval Academy, a masters degrees from Georgetown University, the National Intelligence University, and the National Defense University.
General Allen has published numerous articles in the mainstream media and in professional journals. He contributed to the anthology Hyperwar: Conflict and Competition in the AI Century (SparkCognition Press, 2018). He is co-author of the book Turning Point: Policymaking in the Era of Artificial Intelligence alongside co-author Darrell M. West (Brookings Press, 2020). He is also the co-author of Future War and the Defence of Europe alongside LTG (Ret.) Frederick “Ben” Hodges and Professor Julian Lindley French (Oxford University Press, 2021). Future War has been translated into multiple languages and is now being published in Ukrainian.
He is the recipient of multiple US military and agency personal and campaign awards, and is the recipient of numerous international military awards as well.