At a Glance
- Career History:
U.S. Army Forces in
Commander; U.S. Army enlisted, 82nd Airborne; John Carroll University, U.S.
Army assistant inspector general; Trainer to Saudi Arabian National
Guard; Commander, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry; Chief of staff, 1st
Infantry Division; Commander, 29th Infantry Regiment; Commander,
Multinational Brigade North (Iraq); Deputy director for regional
in the Pentagon; Commander, 1st Infantry Division; Director of
operations, Joint Staff.
Operation Iraqi Freedom; Operation Able Sentry; Operation Desert
Feb. 16, 1952
- Alma Mater:
John Carroll University
Path To Power
Ham graduated from the Air War College in 1997, then was sent back
to Germany for a senior staff post with the 1st Infantry Division.
He would soon become its chief of staff. In 1999, Ham was made
commander of the 29th Infantry Regiment, which was assigned to U.S.
Central Command, a post he held until 2001.
Next, Ham became deputy commanding general for readiness for I
Corps. In January 2004, he headed for the Iraq war, becoming
commander of Multinational Brigade-North in Mosul, Iraq, a job he
held until February 2005. He then returned to the States, and was
made deputy director for regional ops on the the Joint Staff in the
Pentagon. Next up was another operational post: commander of the
storied 1st Infantry Division, a job he held from August 2006 to
July 2007. His most recent position was the high-profile operations
director for the Joint Staff.
As the top U.S. Army general in Africa, Ham oversees 53 African
countries. Previously a part of the European Command, which was
overseen by Ham in his former job, the command manages issues such
as counterterrorism, armed conflict, humanitarian issues and in
early 2011, major political upheaval in countries like Libya and
In fact, Carter was in charge of U.S. military support for
enforcing the U.N. Security Council resolution approved in March
2011 that allowed foreign military intervention in Libya to support
the rebels against President Moammar Gadaffi.
Ham has worked with served alongside many current military leaders
and some members of the Obama administration. One is Gen. Eric
Shinseki, now Veterans Affairs chief. In 2003, when Ham, then a
one-star general, was mulling retirement, then-Army Chief of Staff
Gen. Shinseki pulled him aside during a conference, Ham told The
Tacoma News Tribune one year later. "Don't screw this up. I'm
giving you my two Stryker brigades. As you might've noticed, these
are very important to me,'" Shinseki told Ham. Ham didn't
retuire, and his career took off.
Ham has also worked closely with Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon's top
lawyer. This gives Ham another powerful ally -- along with Defense
Secretary Robert Gates -- within the Obama administration. Johnson
was inserted at DoD after raising big campaign cash for Obama during
the 2008 presidential election cycle. Allies like that are key for
generals eying bigger jobs.
Like all senior military officials, Ham has not donated to any
political candidates, according to the Center for Responsive