On May 4, President Joe Biden disclosed his appointments to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB). In that list, Admiral James A. “Sandy” Winnefeld – a Tech alumnus and professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs (IA) – can be found.
Winnefeld will serve as chair within the board. According to the White House, those working alongside him will be Gilman G. Louie, Secretary Janet A. Napolitano and Ambassador Richard J. Verma.
As the chair of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, Adm. Winnefeld will afford the President with guidance on how the Intelligence Community can be both effective and in alignment with the nation’s needs.
Adm. Winnefeld has been a member of the Tech community long before his employment at the Institute began. He graduated from the school in 1978 with a degree in aerospace engineering (AE). Following his college graduation from Tech, Adm. Winnefeld had a tenure in the United States Navy that exceeded 35 years.
He flew the F-14 Tomcat and served as senior-de-camp to General Colin L. Powell, an American diplomat and the 65th Secretary of State.
Following his first tour of duty in 1984, he became an instructor at the Navy Fighter Weapons School – more commonly known as TOPGUN. According to a recent Tech Instagram post, “Winnefeld was training pilots when Paramount Pictures began the production of the original Top Gun film. Winnefeld and his fellow instructors flew the fighter jets seen throughout the movie.”
Beyond TOPGUN, the Center for Strategic and International Studies says that “[Winnefeld] commanded a fighter squadron, the amphibious ship USS Cleveland, and the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.”
He also acted as a flag officer, wherein “he commanded a carrier strike group, two NATO commands, the United States Sixth Fleet, United States Northern Command, and the North American Aerospace Defense Command [NORAD].”
His efforts have amassed him a plethora of accolades; prior to his retirement from the Navy in 2015, Adm. Winnefeld received the Defense Distinguished Service Medal three times, the Legion of Merit award two times, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, as well as the Bronze Star Medal.
His decorations exceed far beyond his work within the Navy. Winnefeld has published several books, such as Career Compass: Navigating the Navy’s Officer Promotion and Assignment System (2015), and Joint Air Operations: Pursuit of Unity in Command and Control (1993).
He and his wife, Mary, are also the co-chairs of a nonprofit organization called SAFEProject.US. It is dedicated to curbing the addiction epidemic in the United States.
Furthermore, in addition to being a professor and member of the Engineering Hall of Fame here at Tech, the Sam Nunn School of IA reports that he “[is] a senior non-resident fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.”
Adam Stulberg, a Sam Nunn Professor and a chair within the college, elaborated on what Adm. Winnefeld’s role in the administration means for the community.
“As a School named for an esteemed senator with an incredible record of working on the most pressing international security issues of our time, the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs is no stranger to working with some of the best minds in international affairs and security.”
Adm. Winnefeld is the second Nunn School faculty member to take a key role in the administration.
This distinction demonstrates the caliber of faculty the Institute attracts and reflects well on the stature of the Nunn School, the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, and Georgia Tech.
“Sandy’s work with the PIAB is, of course, completely separate from his work here in the Nunn School. However, this engagement clearly demonstrates that the Nunn School and Georgia Tech are well-positioned for the future as we work to understand and improve the world around us and train a new generation of leaders to work on the world stage.”
Despite his appointment, Michael Pearson, a media relations representative for the IAC, says that “Winnefeld will continue to serve in his role here at Tech as a distinguished professor of the practice in the Nunn School.”
This appointment is a well-deserved accolade for Adm. Winnefeld and his illustrious career. For more information regarding Adm. Winnefeld’s accomplishments, appointments, and his course offerings at Tech, refer to inta.gatech.edu/people/person/ sandy-winnefeld.