Lieutenant General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr. is currently serving as the Director, Joint Staff. General McKenzie previously served as the Director, J-5, Strategic Plans and Policy, Joint Staff from October 2015 to July 2017.
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, upon graduation from The Citadel in 1979, LtGen McKenzie was commissioned into the Marine Corps and trained as an infantry officer.
He has commanded at the platoon, company, battalion, Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), and component levels. As a LtCol, he commanded First Battalion, Sixth Marines. As the Commanding Officer of the 22d MEU (SOC), he led the MEU on combat deployments to Afghanistan in 2004 and Iraq in 2005-06. In 2006-07 he served as the Military Secretary to the 33rd and 34th Commandants of the Marine Corps.
In July 2007, upon promotion to BGen, he served on the Joint Staff as a Deputy Director of Operations within the National Military Command Center. In June 2008, he was selected by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to be the Director of the Chairman's New Administration Transition Team (CNATT). In this capacity, he coordinated the efforts of the Joint Staff and the combatant commands in preparing for and executing a wartime transition of administrations.
In June 2009, he reported to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul, Afghanistan, to serve as the Deputy to the Deputy Chief of Staff (DCOS) for Stability. Upon his return from Afghanistan, in July 2010 he was assigned as the Director, Strategy, Plans, and Policy (J-5) for the U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida. In August 2012, he reported to Headquarters Marine Corps to serve as the Marine Corps Representative to the Quadrennial Defense Review. In June 2014, he was promoted to LtGen and assumed command of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Central Command. In January 2015, he was assigned to the Joint Staff to serve as the Director, J-5, Strategic Plans and Policy, Joint Staff. In July 2017, he assumed responsibilities as the Director, Joint Staff.
LtGen McKenzie is an honors graduate of the Armor Officer Advanced Course, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the School of Advanced Warfighting. He was selected as a CMC Fellow in 1999, and served as a Senior Military Fellow within the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. He has a Masters in Teaching with a concentration in History.