Gordon Skip Davis

Gordon B. "Skip" Davis, Jr.

Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Defense and Security

Skip Davis is a Nonresident Senior Fellow with the Transatlantic Defense and Security Program at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). Skip recently served as NATO’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Defense Investment Division where he assisted allies in capability development to meet alliance and national needs and in policy development related to armaments, aviation, air and missile defence, communications, innovation, technology, interoperability, and industry relations.  Skip joined NATO after retiring from the U.S. Army as a Major General with more than 37 years of service.

Mr. Davis was born in Valdosta, Georgia and raised in Florida.A 1981 graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York with a Bachelor of Science in Physics, he earned the Leslie Groves award for Nuclear Physics. Skip also earned a Maîtrise in International Business and a Diplôme d’Études Approfondies in Defense Studies from the University of Paul Valery in Montpellier, France, and a Master of Science in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania.

Skip’s military career was characterized by operational and institutional assignments interspersed with study and practice of international affairs and defense issues, primarily in Europe. He speaks French and Italian and has lived over 24 years in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. He spent over 5 years on U.S., NATO, and United Nations operations throughout Africa (Mozambique, Zaire, Rwanda, Congo, Liberia), as well as commanding units in Iraq and Afghanistan. While attending graduate school in France as an Olmsted Scholar, Mr. Davis worked as an intern at the Assembly of Western European Union in Paris, later renamed the European Security and Defense Assembly. This experience was the beginning of a long relationship with NATO and European defense issues, which continued as a common thread through Mr. Davis’s post graduate theses and led to numerous assignments with NATO forces and headquarters before joining NATO as a diplomat in 2018.

Commissioned in the infantry Mr. Davis served the first half of his career in rapid deployment airborne and infantry units in Italy and North Carolina. This period included service as the S3 (Director of Operations) of an Italian Alpini Battalion and later Regiment, which was Italy’s contribution to the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force (Land). His infantry commands included the 2d Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment in Georgia and the 2nd Brigade, 78th Division in New York, the latter which he deployed to Iraq. Following brigade command, he served as the Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff of Southern European Task Force (Airborne), Vicenza, Italy, during which time he helped stand up U.S. Army Africa. He later served in Afghanistan as Chief, Strategic Advisory Group to Commander, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Mr. Davis served nine years as a general officer, with assignments at the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, ISAF Joint Command, 1st Cavalry Division, and the Training and Doctrine Command’s Combined Arms Center and Command General Staff College. Mr. Davis’ last three assignments included Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Intelligence, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (2013-2015), Commander, Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, dual-hatted as Deputy Chief of Staff, Security Assistance for Headquarters, Resolute Support (2015-1016), and Director of Operations J3, U.S. European Command (2016-2018).

Chief among his decorations is the Defense Superior Service Medal (four awards), the Legion of Merit (three awards), the Bronze Star (three awards), the Joint Meritorious Unit Award (four awards), the Italian Bronze Cross, the Polish Army Silver Medal, and the Afghan Baryan National Medal.

Mr. Davis and his wife Rita have two daughters, Stefania and Victoria.