Jack Keane

Jack Keane
Born (1943-02-01) February 1, 1943
New York City, New York, U.S.
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1966–2003
Rank General
Commands held XVIII Airborne Corps
101st Airborne Division
1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Silver Star
Legion of Merit (5)
Bronze Star Medal

John M. Keane (born February 1, 1943) is a retired American four-star general and former Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army, and a defense analyst currently serving as chairman of the board for the Institute for the Study of War.

Personal life

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 married Theresa Doyle in 1965 and has two sons.[3] His wife died in 2016 after having Parkinson's disease for 14 years.[4]


Keane attended Fordham University, where he participated in The National Society of 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 attended the Command and General Staff College and the Army War College.[3]


Keane served in the Vietnam War as a paratrooper.[5] 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 General 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."[6]

Keane retired from military service in 2003. He now works as a national security analyst for Fox News. He has 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, entitled "Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq",[7] through the American Enterprise Institute that called for bringing security by putting around 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".[8][9]

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.[10]

Keane was asked by 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 declined. Keane ended up briefly working at the White House and then later traveled to Iraq several times to advise General Petraeus.[11]

Keane currently sits on the board of directors of General Dynamics, and is a consultant/strategic advisor for Academi. He has also lobbied on behalf of AM General, the firm that produces the Humvee.[12] Keane became the executive chairman of AM General in October 2016.[13]

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.

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.


  1. Matthew Kaminski, Wall Street Journal, "Why the Surge Worked", September 20, 2008
  2. http://www.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=731
  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. "Army Gen. Jack Keane declines Trump's secretary of defense offer".
  5. Fred Kaplan, The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War, Simon & Schuster, 2013, p. 225.
  6. Keane, Jack. "Jack Keane". Conversations with Bill Kristol. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  7. 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 2017-04-17.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. http://conversationswithbillkristol.org/video/jack-keane/
  11. "GEN. JACK KEANE TRANSCRIPT". Conversations with Bill Kristol. The Foundation for Constitutional Government. 29 July 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  12. "From the Pentagon to the private sector: In large numbers, and with few rules, retiring generals are taking lucrative defense-firm jobs", Boston.com, December 26, 2010
  13. , AM General, October 26, 2016
Military offices
Preceded by
Eric Shinseki
Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Succeeded by
George Casey
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