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General Anthony Zinni Featured United States Marine Corps (Retired)

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  • Respected Author
  • The Middle East in Crisis
  • The Middle East in Crisis
  • The Middle East Peace Process
  • US Middle East Policy
  • World Of Experience

Select Book Titles

  • 2014 Before the First Shots Are Fired: How America Can Win Or Lose Off The Battlefield
  • 2009 Leading the Charge: Leadership Lessons from the Battlefield to the Boardroom
  • 2007 The Battle for Peace: A Frontline Vision of America's Power and Purpose

General Anthony C. Zinni, United States Marine Corps (Retired), was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania in 1943 and raised in the Philadelphia area. He attended Saints Cosmos and Damian grade school and Saint Matthew's High School in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. He currently resides in Williamsburg, Virginia.


General Zinni joined the Marine Corps' Platoon Leader Class program in 1961 and was commissioned an infantry second lieutenant in 1965 upon graduation from Villanova University. He held numerous command and staff assignments that included platoon, company, battalion, regimental, Marine Expeditionary Unit, and Marine Expeditionary Force command. His staff assignments included service in operations, training, special operations, counter-terrorism, and manpower billets. He has been a tactics and operations instructor at several Marine Corps schools and was selected as a fellow on the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group.

General Zinni's joint assignments included command of a joint task force and a unified command. He has also had several joint and combined staff billets at joint task force and unified command levels.

His military service has taken him to over 70 countries and includes deployments to the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Western Pacific, Northern Europe, and Korea. He has also served tours of duty in Okinawa and Germany. His operational experiences included two tours in Vietnam, where he was severely wounded; emergency relief and security operations in the Philippines; Operation Provide Comfort in Turkey and northern Iraq; Operation Provide Hope in the former Soviet Union; Operations Restore Hope, Continue Hope, and United Shield in Somalia; Operations Resolute Response and Noble Response in Kenya; Operations Desert Thunder, Desert Fox, Desert Viper, Desert Spring, Southern Watch, and Maritime Intercept Operations in Iraq and the Persian Gulf; and Operation Infinite Reach against terrorist targets in the Central Region. He was involved in the planning and execution of Operation Proven Force and Operation Patriot Defender during the Gulf War and noncombatant evacuation operations in Liberia, Zaire, Sierra Leone, and Eritrea.

He has attended numerous military schools and courses including the Army Special Warfare School, the Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the National War College. General Zinni retired from the military in 2000 after commanding the US Central Command.


General Zinni's 23 personal awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster; the Distinguished Service Medal; the Defense Superior Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters; the Bronze Star with Combat "V" and Gold Star; the Purple Heart; the Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star; the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V" and Gold Star; the Navy Achievement Medal with Gold Star; the Combat Action Ribbon; and personal awards from Vietnam, France, Italy, Egypt, Kuwait, Yemen, and Bahrain. He also holds 37 unit, service, and campaign awards.


General Zinni has participated in presidential diplomatic missions to Somalia, Pakistan, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, and State Department missions involving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and conflicts in Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Middle East. He has worked in mediation and negotiation efforts with the University of California's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, the US Institute of Peace, and the Henri Dunant Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva. He has also been President of UCLA's Center for Middle East Development, a Distinguished Advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, an Honorary Fellow at the Foreign Policy Association, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Chairman of the Council's Middle East Forum, a board member of the American Academy of Diplomacy, Chairman of the Board of the Institute of World Affairs, Co-Chair of the American Security Project, member of the board of the Henri Dunant Centre, member of the board of the Atlantic Council, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Policy Advisory Group, Chairman of the Board of the Middle East Institute, a Camden Conference Fellow, member of the board of the Peace Research Endowment, member of the board of Inter Mediate, and Co-Chair of The Center for U.S. Global Engagement’s National Security Advisory Council.


General Zinni was Chairman, CEO, and President of a major defense company, Executive Vice President of an international government services company, and President of International Operations for a manufacturing company. He has held positions on several boards of directors and advisors of major companies in the fields of government services, manufacturing, telecommunications, electronics, hospitality and hotels, defense industries, software development, financial services, shipbuilding, mining, cyber security, film making, energy, engineering design, and capital investment. He has also had his own consulting business working with companies in strategic planning, business development, international marketing, customer relations, communications, and leader development.


General Zinni was the Terry Sanford Lecturer in Residence and Visiting Professor of Public Policy Studies at Duke University and held the Frank H.T. Rhodes Class of ’56 Professorship at Cornell University. General Zinni has held academic positions that include the Stanley Chair in Ethics at the Virginia Military Institute; the Nimitz Chair at the University of California-Berkeley; the Hofheimer Chair at the Joint Forces Staff College; the Weisberg Chair at Beloit College; the Harriman Professor of Government Chair and membership on the Reves Center for International Studies at the College of William and Mary; membership on the board of Villanova University's Center for Responsible Leadership and Governance; membership in Villanova's President's Club and President’s Inner Circle Executive Committee; selection as a Carter O. Lowance Fellow in Law and Public Policy at the William and Mary Law School; Scholar in Residence at Villanova University, and selection as a Hedrick Fellow by the U. S. Coast Guard Academy. He is a Professor of Military Science at Old Dominion University. He has also lectured at numerous colleges and universities in the U. S. and abroad.


General Zinni was appointed by the Governor as a member of the Virginia Commission on Military Bases and as a Military Aide-de-camp to the Governor of The Commonwealth of Virginia. He was also a member of the Duke of Gloucester Society of Colonial Williamsburg, the Board of Trustees of Colonial Williamsburg, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Marine Corps League, the Marine Corps Association, the Board of Directors of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, the Comptroller General’s Advisory Board of the Government Accountability Office, The National Constitution Center Board of Trustees, the Board of Trustees of Benedictine College Preparatory, Honorary Campaign Chair for the McMahon Parater Foundation, the Lewis B. Puller Jr. Veterans Legal Clinic, and the Defense Analysis Committee for the Center for Naval Analysis.


General Zinni holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Villanova University; a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Salvae Regina College; a Master of Arts degree in Management and Supervision from Central Michigan University; a Master of Science degree in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from Creighton University, a Doctor of Education degree in Interdisciplinary Leadership from Creighton University, and honorary doctorates from Villanova University, William and Mary College, and the Maine Maritime Academy.


General Zinni's civilian awards and honors include the Papal Gold Cross of Honor; the Union League's Abraham Lincoln Award; the Italic Studies Institute's Global Peace Award; the Distinguished Service Award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars; the Chapman Award from the Marine Corps University Foundation; the Commodore Barry Distinguished Citizen Award from the Navy League of the United States; the Penn Club Award; the Marconi Award from the Order of the Sons of Italy; the Saint Thomas of Villanova Alumni Award; the George P. Shultz Award for Public Service from the US State Department; the UNICO Grand Patriot Award; The UNICO Freedom Award; the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation Semper Fidelis Award; the Avon Old Farms School Founder’s Award; the National Italian American Foundation's Basilone award; the Villanova Loyalty Award; and the Wallach Peacemaker Award.


General Zinni has participated on a number of studies on subjects that include environmental security, national security, diplomacy, genocide prevention, and leadership issues. He has written numerous articles, op ed pieces, and monographs. He has also co-authored a New York Times Best seller book on his career with Tom Clancy entitled Battle Ready and a foreign policy book entitled The Battle For Peace that was also a New York Times Best Seller and a Foreign Affairs Bestseller. He has written a book on leadership, Leading the Charge, published in 2009 and a national security policy book, Before the First Shots are Fired, published in 2014.

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