James B. Smith
Ambassador Smith served as U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 2009-2013 following a 28-year career in the United States Air Force and senior executive positions with Raytheon.
As Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, he helped to strengthen U.S.-Saudi business relations across all sectors, which resulted in nearly 400 U.S. companies exporting to the Kingdom for the first time and a doubling of non-defense U.S. exports to the Kingdom during his term. Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Smith had served in a variety of executive positions with Raytheon Company involving corporate strategic planning, aircraft manufacturing, and international business development.
Ambassador Smith served in the U.S. Air Force for 28 years. Trained as a fighter pilot, he logged over 4,000 hours of flight time in F-15s and T-38s. He served around the world in a variety of operational assignments and flew combat missions from Dhahran AB during Operation Desert Storm. He commanded the 94th Fighter Squadron, the 325th Operations Group and the 18th Fighter Wing (Kadena AB, Okinawa). In addition, he served in a variety of staff assignments involving coalition partners, and served as Air Force Chair and Professor of Military Strategy at the National War College. During his final assignment at U.S. Joint Forces Command, he led Millennium Challenge, the largest transformation experiment in history. He was promoted to Brigadier General in October 1998, and retired from the Air Force in 2002.
Ambassador Smith was a distinguished graduate of the U. S. Air Force Academy's Class of 1974 and received the Richard I. Bong award as the Outstanding Cadet in Military History. He received his M.A. in History from Indiana University in 1975, and is also a distinguished graduate from the Naval War College, the Air Command and Staff College and the National War College.