James Franklin Jeffrey (born 1946) is a former senior American diplomat and an expert in political, security, and energy issues in the Middle East, Turkey, Germany, and the Balkans.
He has held senior assignments in Washington, D.C., and abroad, including as Deputy National Security Advisor (2007–2008); United States Ambassador to Iraq (2010–2012); United States Ambassador to Turkey (2008–2010); and United States Ambassador to Albania (2002–2004). In 2010 Jeffrey was appointed to the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service, Career Ambassador. From 1969 to 1976, Jeffrey was a U.S. Army infantry officer, with service in Germany and Vietnam.
Jeffrey is a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a member of the Defense Policy Board, a member of the American Council on Germany, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves on the advisory board for DC-based non-profit America Abroad Media. He is a frequent commentator on broader foreign policy, national security, and economic trends.
Jeffrey was born in Saugus, Massachusetts, in 1946. He received a BA in History from Northeastern University in 1969, and a MS in Business Administration from Boston University Graduate School of Management in 1977. Jeffrey also holds a diploma in the French language from the University of Paris. He speaks German, Turkish, and French along with English. Jeffrey is married with two children and is a resident of Virginia.
Jeffrey joined the US Foreign Service in 1977. After a training assignment in Tunis, Tunisia he was posted to Sofia, Bulgaria, where he served as the on-site U.S. representative during a hijacking of a Turkish Air Flight with five U.S. businessmen taken as hostages, in May 1981. Jeffrey then served on assignments in Adana, Turkey and Ankara, Turkey as a political-military officer, from 1983 to 1987.
Jeffrey served in Munich, Germany, during the collapse of the Soviet Union and the reunification of Germany from 1989 to 1991, including as acting principal officer during the first Gulf War, and liaison to Radio Free Europe. He then was selected as the State Department’s coordinator for the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe (now OSCE). Jeffrey later served as the Deputy Presidential Special Advisor for Bosnia Implementation, working to put into place the Dayton Accords.
In 1996 Jeffrey was selected as Deputy Chief of Mission to the American Embassy Kuwait, and served during Operation Desert Fox and the evacuation of Embassy Kuwait. In 1999 he returned to Turkey, as Deputy Chief of Mission. After serving as Ambassador to Albania from 2002 to 2004, he was selected by Secretary of State Colin Powell and Ambassador John Negroponte to bridge the transition from the Coalition Provisional Authority to the new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and subsequently served as Deputy Chief of Mission from 2004 to 2005. He served as Chargé d'Affaires in Baghdad before returning to Washington to serve as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s Special Advisor for Iraq from 2006 to 2007. Jeffrey then served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, covering broader Middle East policy matters, including co-chairing the Interagency Iran Policy Group.
President George W. Bush nominated Jeffrey as Ambassador to Turkey in 2008, where he served in his fourth and final assignment to Turkey until 2010. President Barack Obama nominated him to serve as Ambassador to Iraq in 2010. Jeffrey oversaw its expansion into the largest Embassy in the world with almost 16,000 employees and an annual budget of over $6 billion, and worked with the U.S. military to ensure a successful transition to a civilian lead.
In the summer of 2007, Jeffrey was selected to serve on detail to the White House as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser for President George W. Bush, serving as acting National Security Adviser on Bush’s 2007 and 2008 trips to the Pacific nations.
Jeffrey has received the Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Award on two occasions, in 2010 and 2012, as well as the Secretary of State's Career Service Award in 2012, and the Distinguished Honor Award in 2005. Secretary Leon Panetta presented him with the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service in 2011, and CIA Director David Petraeus awarded Jeffrey the Director's Medal in 2012. He received Boston University's School of Management Award for Distinguished Service in 2006, and the American Bar Association's Award for Promoting Rule of Law Worldwide in 2004. His military awards include the Bronze Star.