Ben Hodges

Pershing Chair

Lieutenant General (Retired) Ben Hodges holds the Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis. He joined CEPA in February 2018.

A native of Quincy, Florida, General Hodges graduated from the United States Military Academy in May 1980 and was commissioned in the Infantry.

After his first assignment as an Infantry Lieutenant in Garlstedt, Germany, he commanded Infantry units at the Company, Battalion, and Brigade levels in the 101st Airborne Division, including Command of the First Brigade Combat Team “Bastogne” of the 101st Airborne Division in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (2003-2004). His other operational assignments include Chief of Operations for Multi-National Corps-Iraq in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (2005-2006) and Director of Operations, Regional Command South in Kandahar, Afghanistan (2009-2010).

General Hodges has also served in a variety of Joint and Army Staff positions to include Tactics Instructor; Chief of Plans, 2nd Infantry Division in Korea; Aide-de-Camp to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe; Chief of Staff, XVIII Airborne Corps; Director of the Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell on the Joint Staff; Chief of Legislative Liaison for the United States Army; and Commander, NATO Allied Land Command (İzmir, Turkey). His last military assignment was as Commanding General, United States Army Europe (Wiesbaden, Germany) from 2014 to 2017. He retired from the U.S. Army in January 2018.

Written by Ben Hodges

Close to the Wind: The Bigger Picture – The Strategic Context The United States and its allies are in the process of a contentious, protracted, and belated effort to assess and respond to the threats from Russia and China, amid disruptive economic, technological, and public health challenges.
Close to the Wind: What Russia Wants The Kremlin aims to be the dominant power in Eurasia, using Russia’s size to exert strong influence over its neighbors and to bargain with big countries on an equal basis.
Close to the Wind: The Military Threat Russia’s military capabilities and plans, coupled with the changing nature of warfare and the disadvantageous topography of the Baltic states, shape the strategic outlook for the Baltic Sea region.
Close to the Wind: Balancing the Books Alliance credibility — or lack of it — is, therefore, the key factor in regional security. It should not be taken for granted.
Close to the Wind: Too Many Cooks, Not Enough Broth The operational and strategic roles of the different headquarters involved in the Baltic Sea region are unclear, and to outsiders even bewildering.
Close to the Wind: Conclusion – Shortcomings and Gaps The security of the Atlantic alliance and all its member states is only as strong as that of its weakest and most peripheral members.