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    JIDA director retires after 38 years



    Story by David Small 

    Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency

    Departing his post as the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency director and bidding farewell to the U.S. Army after 38 years of service, Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson retired July 21 at a ceremony held at Fort Myers Henderson Hall with full honors rendered from the 3rd U.S. Army Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).

    Presiding over the ceremony, Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commanding general of U.S. Army, Pacific, spoke about Johnson’s “innumerable contributions” to the Army and how he is regarded highly by many. Johnson and Brooks had served together in various assignments including a tour in Iraq. The two first met as Captains at the U.S. Army Infantry School.

    Brooks described Johnson as a strong mentor who truly cared for Soldiers in everything, and was a “master at keeping chaos in check.” He also praised Johnson’s wife, Cheryl, as “resourceful, committed, caring and involved.”

    Ever the humble leader, Johnson used his opportunity at the lectern to thank a myriad of players who had a significant role during his career including God, key leaders throughout his career, various military, international and interagency colleagues present, and his family.

    “All I ever wanted to be was a Soldier,” Johnson said of his college years at the Virginia Military Institute.

    Johnson departs the Army as the director of the Joint Improvised-Thread Defeat Agency, formerly the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, having achieved the goal of establishing the new agency as an enduring capability for the Department of Defense

    As a warfighter himself, Johnson understands how important having the right tool on the battlefield could be for others in uniform, often relaying his first interaction with JIEDDO was as a customer in Iraq during the era of hillbilly armor on Humvees.

    Under his leadership, JIDA fielded dozens of pieces of kit, iterating on equipment to improve troops’ maneuverability on the battlefield. Other solutions required fusion of operations and intelligence information, or refined or new training initiatives.

    To effectively orchestrate counter-IED actions across the DoD, Johnson laid the groundwork for a DoD-wide strategy to shape counter-IED strategic planning worldwide.

    A large part of his plan was to foster, facilitate and develop relationships with a community of action including the services, numerous government agencies, international partners, industry supporters, and congressional leaders to deliver holistic results in the fight against the strategies to deploy IEDs worldwide.

    His engagements over the course of his tenure helped forge relationships between stakeholders collaborating efforts to mitigate IEDs and discuss innovations in rapid acquisition.

    Johnson challenged JIEDDO to capture the knowledge, competencies, experiences, and capabilities developed since inception to institutionalize the organization for the enduring counter-IED fight of the future.

    Recognizing fiscal constraints, Johnson and his team looked at ways to cut costs while maintaining support to combatant commanders. To accomplish this feat, he implemented an aggressive plan to reduce overhead and manning, and reduce response time on enabler requirements. He orchestrated the restructuring of operational and administrative processes, internal controls and revised the agency’s internal acquisition model. He eliminated scores of underperforming and non-performing initiatives in an effort to free up valuable resources needed in the work to identify critical emerging requirements.

    Prior to arriving at JIEDDO, Johnson commanded the Eighth U.S. Army; served as Chief of Staff for United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, and U.S. Forces Korea. He has also served as commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division in Baumholder, Germany. He was the Chief of the Strategy Division in the Deputy Directorate for the Global War on Terrorism on the Joint Staff, served on the Army Staff as the Deputy Director for Strategy, Plans and Policy; and the Deputy Commanding General (Operations) for I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Johnson has deployed in support of Operation Desert Thunder and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    Johnson’s replacement, Maj. Gen. Michael Shields, has been nominated to the rank of lieutenant general and to JIDA as its director, but has not yet been confirmed by the Senate. Maj. Gen. Julie Bentz, JIDA’s vice director, will act as the director in the interim.



    Date Taken: 07.22.2015
    Date Posted: 07.27.2015 10:50
    Story ID: 171195
    Location: WASHINGTON, DC, US 
    Hometown: TULSA, OK, US

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