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Gration, J. Scott (Sudan Czar)

Title: Special Envoy to Sudan
Reports to: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Department that handles similar issues: State Department
Duties: Will coordinate America’s role in the aftermath of the genocide in Darfur


  • Born in St. Charles, Illinois
  • Grew up in the Congo, where he and his missionary parents moved when Gration was a year old
  • Earned a BA from Rutgers University in 1974
  • Joined the United States Air Force in September 1974, eventually graduating as captain
  • Worked as a flight instructor in Kenya
  • Was hired in 1985 to advise the Defense Department’s Office of Regional Plans and Policy on international political and military affairs
  • Earned a master’s degree in international affairs from Georgetown University in 1988
  • Was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force in 1988 and moved to Turkey, where he flew and trained others
  • Attended the National War College in 1992
  • Returned to Turkey in 1995
  • Was commander of the unit of the unit that lost 18 men and women when a truck bomb struck an apartment complex housing U.S. personnel in Saudi Arabia in 1996
  • Enforced the no-fly zone over northern Iraq in 1998
  • Was promoted to Air Force Brigadier-General in 1999
  • Returned to Washington as the deputy director for operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2000
  • Spent a year directing regional affairs for the Air Force deputy undersecretary for international affairs
  • Commanded all air operations during the Iraq War in 2003
  • Was Air Force assistant deputy undersecretary for international affairs (2003 to 2004)
  • Was Supreme Allied Commander for NATO (2004 to 2005)
  • First met Barack Obama in 2005 and spoke with him about the military’s work in Europe, Eurasia and Africa
  • Accompanied Obama in 2006 on a two-week trip to five countries in Africa; though he was a Republican, Gration decided after that trip to support Obama, who he believed could “turn a page for America, not only to bring the country together, but to give us a different image externally.”
  • Has called on the Obama administration to incentivize participation by the Sudanese government in peace talks by lifting sanctions
  • Favors nuclear disarmament; believes there are too many nuclear weapons in America’s arsenal and hopes to accelerate the 2002 Moscow Treaty that would reduce the operationally deployed strategic warheads to 2,000 by 2012.
  • Supported Obama’s plan during the presidential campaign, to withdraw one brigade from Iraq each month over sixteen months. 

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