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James H. Baker

Director, Office of Net Assessment


As the Director of the Office of Net Assessment (ONA), Mr. Baker is responsible for providing the Secretary of Defense and other senior leaders with independent assessments of the prospects of the military capabilities of the United States relative to other actors, as well as the political, economic and regional implications of those assessments. ONA focuses most on strategies and opportunities that improve the U.S. position in military-economic-political competition. ONA also studies the security environment and provides a source of deep, long term future thinking for the Department of Defense.

Prior to assuming his current position, Mr. Baker served on the Joint Staff. As Strategist to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, Mr. Baker developed and presented short and long range initiatives in reaction to on-going changes in the geostrategic balance, including diplomatic, economic, technological, or military trends. He also conducted outreach on behalf of the Chairman to world class academics, intellectuals, strategists and think tank representatives, both domestically and internationally, and provided their insights directly to the Chairman. As the Principal Deputy Director, Strategic Plans and Policy, he matured a culture of strategic thinking, conducted strategic analysis, and provided creative and global perspectives across the spectrum of political-military issues.

During his tenure, Mr. Baker co-led the Chairman’s Strategic Seminar Series, a four-star only forum consisting of the Joint Chiefs, the Combatant Commanders, and the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Each Seminar took up different aspects and scenarios of the future security environment, and helped senior military leadership design long range military and organizational solutions to meet looming challenges.

Additionally, Mr. Baker served as the Director of the Chairman's Action Group (CAG) for the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen.

Mr. Baker is a distinguished graduate of the National War College and is also a member of the Council of Foreign Relations. He holds four graduate degrees, two in engineering disciplines and two in security studies from military institutions. He is an alumnus of Harvard's Advanced Management Program, MIT's Seminar XXI program, and the Army's Air Assault School.