The Center for Climate and Security is honored to welcome Admiral Sam J. Locklear, United States Navy (Retired), to its distinguished Advisory Board of senior military, national security and foreign policy experts. Admiral Locklear recently retired from the US Navy after serving with distinction for over 39 years, including 15 years of service as a Flag Officer. During his significant tenure as a four star, Admiral Locklear lead at the highest levels serving as Commander U.S. Pacific Command, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, and Commander of NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command.
As Commander U.S. Pacific Command, the United States’ oldest and largest geographic unified combatant command, he commanded all U.S. military forces operating across more than half the globe. He accurately assessed the rapidly changing geopolitical environment of the Indo-Asia-Pacific, the most militarized area of the world, made significant advancements in how U.S. forces are postured for crisis or contingency, and was instrumental in addressing the growing global cyber challenges in the region. A key architect of America’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, Admiral Locklear provided the vision, strategic framework, and detailed planning that began the rebalance of U.S. military influence to the Asia-Pacific. He skillfully managed the US military relationships with our five Pacific treaty allies, numerous key security partners, and emerging multilateral security forums. Additionally, he maintained a pragmatic but lasting relationship with China’s military and made significant progress in developing a deeper strategic security relationship with India.
As Commander U.S. Naval Forces in Europe and Africa, Admiral Locklear managed U.S. Navy’s relationships with all key navies throughout two continents, developing key partnership capabilities and capacities. To protect U.S. interests abroad and to halt the spread of terrorism in the region he successfully commanded all maritime aspects of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Europe and Africa. In 2011 in Libya, in response to a UN mandate to protect the Libyan people from the Gaddafi regime, Admiral Locklear designed and led a multinational coalition Joint Task Force (Odyssey Dawn) successfully enforcing the mandate, and commanded the follow on NATO Operation Unified Protector (OUP) until the final collapse of the Gaddafi regime.
As Commander of NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command, he provided operational level command and oversight of NATO’s ongoing stability operations in Kosovo and NATO’s training mission in Iraq, and was a primary architect of NATO’s 21st century command structure.
A nuclear qualified surface warfare officer, Admiral Locklear’s numerous commands at sea included the US Navy’s Third Fleet, USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Destroyer Squadron Two, and the Spruance class destroyer USS Leftwich (DD 984). Ashore he served as the Director of the Navy Staff, the 78th Commandant of Midshipmen at the US Naval Academy, and head of the Navy programming and assessment divisions where he oversaw the programming of the annual Navy budget of over 125 billion dollars.
Admiral Locklear is a 1977 graduate of the US Naval Academy, a 1992 graduate of the National Defense University’s Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the George Washington University. He is the recipient of numerous awards and decorations including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and decorations from South Korea, the Philippines, Australia and France. In 2013 Defense News ranked him eleventh out of the 100 most influential people in global defense issues.