Jack Keane

Last updated

Jack Keane
Jack Keane.jpg
General Jack Keane in 1999
Born (1943-02-01) February 1, 1943 (age 78)
New York City, New York, U.S.
AllegianceFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Service/branchFlag of the United States Army.svg  United States Army
Years of service1966–2003
Rank General
US-O10 insignia.svg

Commands held XVIII Airborne Corps
101st Airborne Division
1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division
Battles/wars Vietnam War, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo
Awards Presidential Medal of Freedom

Defense Distinguished Service Medal (2)

Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)

Silver Star

Legion of Merit (5)

Bronze Star
Alma mater Fordham University (BS)
Western Kentucky University (MA)

John M. "Jack" Keane (born February 1, 1943) is a retired American four-star general, former Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. He is a national security analyst, primarily on Fox News, and serves as chairman of the Institute for the Study of War and as chairman of AM General.


Early life and education

Keane was born in 1943 in Manhattan, New York, [1] [2] the son of Elizabeth (Davis) and John Keane. He has a brother, Ronald.

Keane attended Fordham University, where he participated in the Pershing Rifles, graduating with a bachelor's degree in accounting in 1966. He then attended Western Kentucky University, graduating with a master's degree in philosophy. He later graduated from the Command and General Staff College and the Army War College. [3]

Military career

Keane watches as President George W. Bush signs a defense appropriations bill in 2002 President George W. Bush signs a defense appropriations bill at the Pentagon.jpg
Keane watches as President George W. Bush signs a defense appropriations bill in 2002

Keane served in the Vietnam War as a Ranger paratrooper, leading in combat as a platoon leader and company commander. He obtained the Combat Infantry Badge and the Master Parachutist Badge. [4] He later served in U.S. engagements in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo. His commands include the 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, 101st Airborne Division and the XVIII Airborne Corps. [3]

In 1991 Keane saved the life of David Petraeus during a live-fire exercise. According to Keane, Petraeus was shot "accidentally, standing right next to me, and I had to fight to save his life. He had a hole about the size of a quarter in his back and is gushing with blood, and we stopped the bleeding and got him on a helicopter and got him to a surgeon and so we were sort of bonded ever since that time." [5]

Keane retired from military service in 2003.

Post military service

Keane (left) meeting with an army colonel in 2010 Former Army vice chief of staff visits TF Falcon 100903-A-8481S-385.jpg
Keane (left) meeting with an army colonel in 2010
Keane receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump in 2020 President Trump Presents the Medal of Freedom to General Jack Keane (49646196636).jpg
Keane receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump in 2020

Following his retirement, he has served as an informal advisor to presidents and other senior officials. He served an advisory role in the management of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, as a member of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee. In January 2007, Keane and scholar Frederick W. Kagan released a policy paper titled "Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq," [6] through the American Enterprise Institute that called for bringing security by putting 30,000 additional American troops there for a period of at least 18 months. In part convinced by this paper, President George W. Bush ordered on January 10, 2007, the deployment of 21,500 additional troops to Iraq, most of whom would be deployed to Baghdad. This deployment has been nicknamed the 2007 "surge". [7] [8]

Of his initial meeting with President Bush regarding the surge, Keane said he made a phone call to Newt Gingrich to ask his advice prior to the meeting. As Keane said in 2014,

Gingrich gave me some good advice. He said, "Look, Jack. Most people go in the Oval Office, even people who go in there a lot, have a tendency in front of the President of the United States to always leave something on the table." He said, "Don't leave anything on the table." He said, "You're going to get about 15 minutes at best and put it all out there. And when you walk out of that room, feel good that you got it all out there." So that was sound advice, and I did put it all out there. [5]

Keane was asked by then-Vice President Cheney to go back on active duty and lead the surge in the field. When Keane declined, Cheney pressed him to come work in the White House and oversee both the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; Keane again declined. Keane ended up briefly working at the White House and then later traveled to Iraq several times to advise General Petraeus. [9]

Current activities

Keane is a regular contributor to Fox News, and is involved in a variety of business, think tank and charitable activities. He serves as chairman of AM General, the firm that produces the Humvee. [10] [11] In June 2016, Keane co-founded IP3 International (IP3), a nuclear energy consulting firm.

Keane is an advisor to the Spirit of America, a 501(c)(3) organization. [12] He formerly served as a strategic advisor for Academi and is a former director of defense giant General Dynamics.

In November 2016, shortly after Stanley A. McChrystal declined the Secretary of Defense job, Keane was offered an appointment to the post, but declined, citing the death of his wife several months earlier. After Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned in December 2018, Trump again offered the job to Keane, who again declined. [13] [14] [15]

Keane is considered an influential voice to leaders from both major political parties, including President Trump, particularly on foreign policy issues related to the Middle East. [16]


Keane is a cofounder and director of IP3 International. [17] According to a staff report to the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign of Donald Trump, and subsequently, Trump aides such as Jared Kushner and others have been engaged in promoting IP3's plan to transfer nuclear technology from the U.S. to Saudi Arabia. According to the report, IP3 founders and others have been seeking to broker a deal with Riyadh without the "gold standard," a provision -- tied to section 123 of the 1954 Atomic Energy Act which establishes conditions for nuclear cooperation between the U.S. and its allies -- that seeks to limit weaponizing of nuclear energy. [18] [19] In July 2019, the committee chairman released a second staff report that detailed various activities and contacts between IP3 and the Trump administration. [18] [20] A letter to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) signed by General Keane and executives of IP3, boasted “The agreements by President Trump and Mohammed bin Salman have established the framework for our unique opportunity to take the next steps with IP3 and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia." [21]

Personal life

Keane married Theresa Doyle in 1965 and has two sons. [3] His wife died in 2016 after having Parkinson's disease for 14 years. [22]

Awards and decorations

Military awards Keane has received include two Defense Distinguished Service Medals, two Army Distinguished Service Medals, the Silver Star, five Legion of Merits, the Bronze Star Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals, one Army Commendation Medal, the Joint Chiefs Service Badge, the Humanitarian Service Medal, [3] Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, and Air Assault Badge.

President Donald Trump awarded Keane the Presidential Medal of Freedom on March 10, 2020. [23]

His civilian awards include the Fordham University Distinguished Alumni Award, the USO 2002 Man of the Year award, and the Association of the United States Army 2001 Man of the Year award.

Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Defense Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg
Defense Distinguished Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg
Army Distinguished Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster
Silver Star ribbon.svg Silver Star
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg
Legion of Merit with four Oak Leaf Clusters
Bronze Star ribbon.svg Bronze Star Medal
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Meritorious Service Medal ribbon.svg
Meritorious Service Medals with two Oak Leaf Clusters
Army Commendation Medal ribbon.svg Army Commendation Medal
Presidential Medal of Freedom (ribbon).svg Presidential Medal of Freedom
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg
National Defense Service Medal with two Service Stars
Vietnam Service Medal ribbon.svg
Vietnam Service Medal with two Service Stars
Humanitarian Service ribbon.svg Humanitarian Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon.svg Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon.svg Army Overseas Service Ribbon
Vietnam Campaign Medal ribbon with 60- clasp.svg Vietnam Campaign Medal
Valorous Unit Award ribbon.svg Valorous Unit Award
Gallantry Cross Unit Citation.png Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
Combat Infantry Badge.svg Combat Infantryman Badge
US Army Airborne master parachutist badge.gif Master Parachutist Badge
AirAssault.svg Air Assault Badge
Ranger Tab.svg Ranger Tab
Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg Joint Chiefs Service Badge
United States Army Staff Identification Badge.png United States Army Staff Identification Badge
502 Parachute Infantry Regiment DUI.PNG 502nd Infantry Regimental Affiliation

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  1. Matthew Kaminski, Wall Street Journal, "Why the Surge Worked", September 20, 2008
  2. "Defense.gov News Release: GENERAL OFFICER ANNOUNCEMENT". www.defense.gov. January 24, 1996. Archived from the original on March 2, 2010.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  3. 1 2 3 4 "General Jack Keane (bio)". Principles of War Seminar Series. Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Archived from the original on March 4, 2007. Retrieved January 22, 2007.
  4. Fred Kaplan, The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War, Simon & Schuster, 2013, p. 225.
  5. 1 2 Keane, Jack (July 29, 2014). "Jack Keane". Conversations with Bill Kristol (Interview). Interviewed by Bill Kristol . Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  6. Kagan, Frederick W. (January 5, 2007). "Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq: Phase I Report". American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. Archived from the original on January 17, 2007. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  7. Kerley, David (January 9, 2007). "The Architect of Bush's New Iraq Strategy". ABC News. Archived from the original on August 25, 2007. Retrieved January 16, 2007.
  8. Hastings, Hirsh, and Wolffe (January 8, 2007). "'Surge' Strategy". Newsweek National News. MSNBC. p. 2. Archived from the original on January 14, 2007. Retrieved January 16, 2007.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. Keane, Jack (July 29, 2014). "GEN. JACK KEANE TRANSCRIPT". Conversations with Bill Kristol (Interview). Interviewed by Bill Kristol. The Foundation for Constitutional Government. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  10. Bender, Bryan (December 26, 2010). "From the Pentagon to the private sector: In large numbers, and with few rules, retiring generals are taking lucrative defense-firm jobs". The Boston Globe .
  11. "AM General Announces General (Ret.) Jack Keane Has Joined the Company as Executive Chairman". AM General . October 26, 2016.
  12. "General Jack Keane". Spirit of America . Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  13. Bergen, Peter. (2019). Trump and his generals: the cost of chaos. New York: Penguin Press. ISBN   978-0-525-52241-6. p. 49, p. 251
  14. Ret. Army Gen. Jack Keane Says He Declined Offer To Be Defense Secretary, NPR (November 20, 2016).
  15. Johnson, Eliana; Lippman, Daniel (January 7, 2019). "Trump struggles to replace Mattis as Pentagon chief". Politico .
  16. Johnson, Eliana (July 2, 2019). "The Fox News general who 'spooked' Trump out of attacking Iran: President Donald Trump may have tired of the men he once called 'my generals,' but one retired military leader still has his ear on key foreign policy matters". Politico.
  17. "Our Team". IP3 Int'l. Archived from the original on February 19, 2019. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  18. 1 2 "Corporate and Foreign Interests Behind White House Push to Transfer U.S. Nuclear Technology to Saudi Arabia Prepared for Chairman Elijah E. Cummings Second Interim Staff Report Committee on Oversight and Reform U.S. House of Representatives July 2019" (PDF). oversight.house.gov. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  19. "The U.S. Atomic Energy Act Section 123 At a Glance". Arms Control Association .
  20. "Appendix A – Documents" (PDF). oversight.house.gov. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  21. "House report lays bare White House feud over Saudi nuclear push". Politico .
  22. Brown, Stephen Rex (November 20, 2016). "Retired four-star Army Gen. Jack Keane says he turned down Trump's offer to be secretary of defense". Daily News .
  23. "Remarks by President Trump at the Presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to General Jack Keane". whitehouse.gov . Retrieved March 12, 2020 via National Archives. It was the first senior military official to visit troops in the field.
Military offices
Preceded by
Eric Shinseki
Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Succeeded by
George Casey