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John Allen

President, The Brookings Institution; Former Commander of NATO and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan; Former Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense for Middle East Security; Former Presidential Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL
  • Tapped by President Obama to oversee the withdrawal of 33,000 troops from Afghanistan
  • First Marine ever selected to command a theater of war
  • Commanding and quick-witted speaker who captures audience attention
  • Discusses the megatrends shaping economies and political alliances, global hot spots, and leading through uncertainty
Topics & Types
Cyber SecurityNational SecurityLeadershipMiddle EastGeopoliticsAI, Machine Learning, & Big DataCrisis ManagementMilitary Leaders

General John Allen is one of the nation’s most legendary military leaders and most respected thought leaders on US-global engagement and leadership of large, complex organizations. When President Barack Obama created the appointment of special envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, General Allen was the first American tapped to confront the Islamic State terror group. General Allen’s diplomatic efforts grew the coalition to 65 members and effectively halted the expansion of ISIL. President Obama said of Allen, “American leadership of this coalition is making the world a safer place, and we have been fortunate to have a great patriot like John Allen leading our efforts.”

Widely hailed as a strategic thinker and a true battlefield leader, retired four-star Marine Corps General John Allen is one of the nation’s foremost experts on the geopolitical relationships between the US and Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and NATO, and has led large complex, organizations, including the entire war effort in Afghanistan. A unique combination of warrior and diplomat, General Allen shares awe-inspiring stories of the challenges facing our nation, the keys to combating the danger, and the leadership lessons that can be applied to today’s business environment. Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, General Allen brings audiences to the scenes of some of modern history’s most tenuous decision-making moments. His commanding presence has audiences holding their breath as they hear his first-hand accounts of combating what the FBI called the “danger it worries about all day long.” He is currently president of the prestigious Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, where he formerly served as chair of security and strategy and a distinguished fellow in the Foreign Policy Program.

Distinguished Military Career. When General Petraeus became CIA director in 2011, General Allen replaced him as the commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force and US Forces Afghanistan. There, he led and managed 150,000 troops and oversaw one of the most complex military transitions of the last decade as he oversaw the strategic shift from troop-intensive counterinsurgency operations to the development of Afghan security forces. Allen spent his early career in Washington, DC, and became the first Marine Corps officer to be inducted as a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He had field command during missions in the Caribbean and the Balkans and became the first Marine to serve as the commandant of midshipmen at the Naval Academy. He then served as the principal director of Asian and Pacific affairs for the office of the Secretary of Defense before heading to a command position and service in Iraq. General Allen spent 13 months in the al Anbar province, where he led efforts to persuade Sunni tribal leaders to stand against al-Qaeda militants. His success precipitated a shift the war in western Iraq. In 2008, General Allen became deputy commander of US Central Command.

A Respected Leader. Leon Panetta, the former defense secretary, described General Allen as “one of the United States military’s most outstanding battlefield leaders, a brilliant strategist, and an exemplary Marine.” Secretary Kerry said, “He worked relentlessly to build a vision among a diverse group of nations and bound them together with common purpose. I have relied on—and deeply valued—General Allen's advice and counsel.” For his command of the Afghan theater of war, he was presented the US Defense Distinguished Medal, and for his service as a diplomat he was presented the Department of State Distinguished Honor Award by Secretary John Kerry and the Director of National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Award by Director James Clapper. For his leadership of their forces in Afghanistan and his leadership of the Global Coalition Against ISIL, he was also recognized with prestigious awards from Australia, Afghanistan, France, Italy, and Poland: The Order of Australia, the Afghan Ghazi Mir Bacha Khan Medal, the French Legion d’Honneur, the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, and the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Poland.

Among his other affiliations, General Allen is a senior fellow at the Merrill Center of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. He is an “Ancien” of the NATO Defense College in Rome, and a frequent lecturer there. He holds a bachelor of science in operations analysis from the US Naval Academy, a master of arts 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.

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Location/Travels from: DC
$35,001 - $55,000*
US East
$35,001 - $55,000*
US West
$55,001 - $75,000*
$55,001 - $75,000*
$55,001 - $75,000*

* This specific fee falls within this range. Ranges are presented as a guideline only. Speaker fees are subject to change without notice.
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