Gen. John Allen

Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS

State of Play in the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS: A Year in Review

About the Topic

Patron Event

About the Speaker

General John Allen (USMC, Ret.) is the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. He was appointed by President Obama on September 13, 2014. He is a retired U.S. Marine four star General and the former commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan from July 2011 to February 2013. Upon his retirement from the Marine Corps, Allen was appointed as the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense on Middle East Security, where he led the Israeli-Palestinian Security Dialogue within the Middle East Peace Process from 2013-2014.

Allen’s command of the 150,000 U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan occurred at a particularly critical period in the war. During his command, he recovered the 33,000 U.S. surge forces, moved the Afghan National Security Forces into the lead for combat operations and pivoted NATO forces from being a conventional combat force into an advisory command. Further, he established the division size Special Operations Joint Task Force, the first such organization of that nature.

Allen’s contingency and combat operations assignments included Operation Sea Signal in the Caribbean in 1994, Operation Joint Endeavor in the Balkans from 1995 to 1996, Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq from 2007 to 2008 and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2013. During his combat tour in Iraq, he played a major role in the emergence of the Awakening, or Sahawa movement, which ultimately liberated the Al Anbar Province from Al Qaeda.

Allen holds a Bachelor of Science in operations analysis from the U.S. Naval Academy, a master’s degree in national security studies from Georgetown University, a Master of Science in strategic intelligence from the Defense Intelligence College and a Master of Science in national security strategy from the National Defense University. He is a recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University, and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Monmouth College. 

Allen is on a leave of absence from the Brookings Institution where he is co-director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.