portrait of General Anthony C. Zinni
Wednesday, March 7, 2001“Emerging Transnational Threats”
Thursday, March 8, 2001“United States Foreign Policy in Asia: A Multilateral or BilateralApproach”

General Zinni joined the Marine Corps in 1961. He was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in 1965 upon graduation from Villanova University. After completion of The Basic School he was assigned to the 2nd Marine Division, where he served as a Platoon Commander, Company Executive Officer, and Company Commander in the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines. He also served in a number of other billets during the late 1960s.

In 1970, the General returned to Vietnam as a Company Commander in 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, where he was wounded, evacuated, and eventually reassigned to the 2nd Marine Division. During this tour he made several deployments to the Caribbean. In 1974, he was assigned to Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps, where he served in the Officer Assignment Branch of the Manpower Department.

In 1978, General Zinni served as the Operations Officer of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, Executive Officer of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, Executive Officer of the 8th Marines and Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines. During this tour, he made several deployments to the Mediterranean and to Northern Europe. In 1981, he was assigned as an instructor at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College at Quantico, Virginia. He was next assigned to the Operations Division at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps where he served as the Head of the Special Operations and Terrorism Counteraction Section and as the Head, Marine Air-Ground Task Force Concepts and Capabilities Branch.

During 1986, he was selected as a fellow on the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group. From 1987-89, General Zinni served on Okinawa as the Regimental Commander of the 9th Marines and the Commanding Officer of the 35th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which was twice deployed to the Philippines to conduct emergency security and disaster relief operations. Upon his return to the U.S., he was assigned as the Chief of Staff of the Marine Air-Ground Training and Education Center at Quantico.

His initial general officer assignment was as the Deputy Director of Operations at the U.S. European Command. During this tour, General Zinni was involved in planning and executing evacuation operations in Zaire, Liberia, and Sierra Leone as well as Operations PROVEN FORCE and PATRIOT DEFENDER in support of the Gulf War. In 1991, he served as Chief of Staff and Deputy Commanding General of Combined Task Force PROVIDE COMFORT during the Kurdish relief effort in Turkey and Iraq. He also served as the Military Coordinator for Operation PROVIDE HOPE, the relief effort for the former Soviet Union. During 1992-93, he served as the Director of Operations for the United Task Force Somalia for Operation RESTORE HOPE. Also in 1993, he served as the Assistant to the U.S. Special Envoy to Somalia during Operation CONTINUE HOPE. General Zinni was assigned as Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, VA, from 1992-94.

General Zinni became Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command in 1996. At that time, the command became involved in Operation DESERT STRIKE, a series of cruise missile attacks against surface-to-air missile sites and command centers in Iraq. The command was also involved in Operation DESERT FOCUS, a comprehensive response to an increased terrorist threat in Saudi Arabia. Operations SOUTHERN WATCH and Maritime Intercept Operations (MIO) were also in effect to enforce UN Security Council resolutions against Iraq.

On 13 August 1997, General Zinni became the sixth United States Commander in Chief, Central Command. In addition to continuing Operation SOUTHERN WATCH and the MIO, he conducted Operation NOBLE RESPONSE in 1998 in response to flooding in Kenya. Other humanitarian operations included demining in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen and Jordan.

In response to continued Iraqi intransigence over United Nations weapons inspections, General Zinni initiated Operation DESERT THUNDER in 1997. This led to an agreement in Baghdad between Saddam Hussein and Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, on 24 February 98. After the August, 1998 terrorist bombing of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, General Zinni conducted Operation RESOLUTE RESPONSE and activated a joint task force in Kenya to assist in recovery support. Simultaneously, General Zinni conducted Operation INFINITE REACH against the terrorist infrastructure in Sudan and Afghanistan. Iraq’s continued noncompliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions caused USCENTCOM to conduct Operation DESERT VIPER in November, 1998 followed by Operation DESERT FOX in December. As a result of the destruction of key facilities and specialized equipment during several days of combat operations, Iraq’s ballistic missile program was set back several years. CENTCOM also demonstrated continued commitment to the physical security of Kuwait by conducting periodic Exercises INTRINSIC ACTION and IRIS GOLD, as well as Operation DESERT SPRING.

While serving as CINCENT, General Zinni participated and assisted in numerous diplomatic efforts. He worked directly with former National Security Advisor Anthony Lake in efforts to prevent Ethiopia and Eritrea from resorting to armed conflict over a border dispute. In June 1999, General Zinni’s personal mission at the height of the Kargil crisis helped influence Pakistan’s decision to withdraw and set the stage for important revisions to official US contact policy in South Asia.

He has attended The Basic School, Army Special Warfare School, Amphibious Warfare School, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the National War College. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics, a Master of Arts degree in International Relations, and a Master of Arts degree in Management and Supervision.

General Zinni’s decorations 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 Medal with Combat “V;” the Purple Heart; the Meritorious Service Medal; the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V;” the Navy Achievement Medal; the Combat Action Ribbon; the Order of Excellence of the Republic of Egypt; the Order of Kuwait; the National Reunification Medal of Yemen; and the Medal of Bahrain.

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