Major General Ricky L. Waddell serves as the Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this role, he is the principal assistant to the Chairman and principal military advisor to the Secretary of State. He serves as the critical linkage between the Chairman and the Secretary of State, as well as between the Joint Staff and senior Department of State officials.
Major General Waddell is a native of Bentonville, Arkansas and was commissioned in 1982 as a Corps of Engineers second lieutenant upon graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.
Prior to assuming his current position, Major General Waddell served as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor. As an Active Duty officer from 1982 until 1994, he held numerous leadership assignments at the company, battalion, and joint task force levels. He also taught at the United States Military Academy and served as a Director of European Security Affairs on the National Security Council. As an Army Reservist since 1994, Major General Waddell held leadership positions on the United States Military Academy faculty, on deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, and at U.S. Southern Command. He most recently commanded the 76th Division (Operational Response), comprising two Chemical Brigades and an All-Hazards Response Task Force. In his civilian career, Major General Waddell spent seventeen years working in Latin America in the retail, petroleum, and mining sectors, living twelve of those years in Sao Paulo, Brazil. After returning from Latin America, he directed the National Defense University’s CAPSTONE course required of all new Generals and Admirals.
Major General Waddell holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy, a Bachelor and Master of Arts degree earned at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and a PhD in Political Science from Columbia University.