Gen. John W. Nicholson assumed duties as the commander of the Resolute Support mission and U.S. Forces − Afghanistan March 16, 2016.
From October 2014 to February 2016, Nicholson commanded Allied Land Command, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, in Izmir, Turkey, where he was responsible for commanding multiple allied corps in any collective defense of the alliance.
From October 2012 to October 2014, he commanded the 82nd Airborne Division, which formed the nucleus of the U.S. Global Response Force while continuing to provide forces to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. Prior to division command, he was deputy director of operations/intelligence integration for the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization in Washington, D.C.
From December 2010 to January 2012, he served as deputy commanding general for operations of U.S. Forces − Afghanistan and deputy chief of staff for operations of ISAF where he was responsible for operations, planning and assessments of ISAF’s comprehensive counterinsurgency campaign.
From September 2009 to December 2010, he was the director of the Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell of the Joint Staff where he was responsible to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for synchronizing policy and the military activities of the services and combatant commands with the national security staff and government agencies in the implementation of U.S. national policy in the region.
From October 2008 to September 2009, he was deputy commander of Regional Command South, ISAF, where he was responsible for planning and executing the introduction and employment of more than 20,000 U.S. forces into RC South in 2009 as well as the governance, development and civil-military integration of RC South’s campaign.
From June 2007 to October 2008, he served as the Joint Staff J3 deputy director for operations of the National Military Command Center where he supervised the principal, national-level, military command and control facility that provides worldwide monitoring, crisis response and strategic watch for the president, secretary of defense and the CJCS.
From August 2004 to August 2007, he commanded the 3rd Brigade Combat Team (Task Force Spartan) of the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, New York. As the only U.S. Brigade Combat Team in Afghanistan in 2006, Task Force Spartan’s nine battalions and eight provincial reconstruction teams conducted counterinsurgency operations in ISAF’s RC East.
Nicholson commanded the Army’s first Stryker infantry battalion 1st Battalion 23rd Infantry, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team 2nd Infantry Division from 1999-2001 at Fort Lewis, Wash. He was a G3 plans officer in 3rd Infantry Division in Wurzburg, Germany, and operations officer of 1st Battalion 26th Infantry (Mechanized) 1st Infantry Division in Schweinfurt, Germany, from 1994-96. In 2nd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment, he commanded C Company and served as assistant S3 and liaison officer (1988-89, 1990-92). He began his service in the 82nd Airborne Division from 1983-88 where he served as a rifle platoon leader, company executive officer, battalion/brigade S3 air, commander of A Company, 2nd Battalion 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment and aide de camp to the commanding general.
His other assignments include service as the aide de camp (1989-90) and senior military assistant (2002-2003) to the secretary of the Army; strategist for the U.S. Army chief of staff (2001-02); speechwriter for commanding general, Peace Stabilization Force, Bosnia-Herzegovina (1997); special assistant for commanding general, U.S. Army Europe (1996) and strategic plans and policy officer at the George C. Marshall European Center for Strategic Studies, U.S. European Command (1997-99).
Nicholson has a Bachelor of Arts in history from Georgetown University, a Bachelor of Science from the United States Military Academy, a Master of Military Art and Science from the School for Advanced Military Studies and a Master of Science in National Security Studies from the National Defense University. His military schools include the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses and the United States Army Command and General Staff College.
His awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal for Valor, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman’s Badge (2nd award), Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge and the Ranger Tab.