James A. Adkins is a retired senior military officer and former cabinet-level official in state government having served as Maryland's Adjutant General and Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Major General Adkins was born in 1954 in Cambridge and grew up on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Prior to entering the U.S. Army, he served two years with the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office
His military career spanned nearly 40 years of service in both the enlisted and officer ranks. He served at nearly every level of command and in various staff assignments. Adkins graduated from the Defense Language Institute’s Russian Language Program in Monterey, California, and served in intelligence, infantry, and cavalry assignments in the United States and abroad. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he assisted the Republic of Estonia in its integration into NATO. His military career took him to Japan, Germany, Estonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Kuwait, Qatar, Iraq, Egypt and Afghanistan.
Adkins’ military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Maryland Distinguished Service Cross, the Republic of Estonia's Order of the Cross of the Eagle 2nd Class and the Order of the White Cross.
His senior military education included the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of the State of New York and a master’s degree in history from Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. General Adkins was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the American University in Bosnia and Herzegovina in recognition of his service to that country.
In 2016, he was selected for induction into the Defense Language Institute's Hall of Fame in Monterey, California. General Adkins was inducted into the Maryland State Firemen's Association Hall of Fame in 2014.
He is a member of numerous organizations including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, American Veterans (AMVETS), Vietnam Veterans of America, Military Officers Association of America, U.S. Army War College Foundation and Alumni Affairs, 2nd Armored Division Association, 29th Infantry Division Association, National Society Sons of the American Revolution, Society of the War of 1812, and the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association.Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal (United States) (with 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster)
Army Commendation Medal (with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters)
Army Achievement Medal
Army Good Conduct Medal
Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal (with 4 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters)
National Defense Service Medal (with one Bronze Service Star)
Armed Forces Reserve Medal (with Bronze Hourglass Device)
Army Service Ribbon
State of Maryland Distinguished Service Cross (with 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster)
State of Maryland Meritorious Service Medal
State of Maryland Commendation Medal
Maryland National Guard Recruiting Medal
Maryland National Guard State Service Medal (with two Bronze Botonees)
Virginia National Guard Bronze Star Medal
State of North Carolina Distinguished Service Medal
Order of the Cross of the Eagle 2nd Class from the President of the Republic of Estonia
White Cross Order of the Home Guard-Republic of Estonia
Presentation Pistol from the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Honorary Doctorate from the American University in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Hall of Fame Award, Maryland State Firemen's Association
Jeffries Carey National Achievement Award, African American Patriots Consortium
American Flag Foundation's Patriotism Award
PNC A. Leo Anderson Memorial Free State Award of Excellence by AMVETS, Maryland
Superintendent's Salute, Maryland State Police
Hall of Fame, Defense Language Institute
Outstanding Military Service Award, Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina
Awarded a certificate of completion for the General and Flag Officer Homeland Security Executive Seminar Program, April 2012, John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Executive Education.