Brigadier General (BG) retired Joseph Rank received his commission into the Regular Army from Wheaton College in 1987. His first assignment was with the 1st Infantry Division in Fort Riley, Kansas as a Military Intelligence Officer. While with the “Big Red One” he served as a Ground Surveillance Radar Platoon Leader and Infantry Brigade Intelligence Officer deploying to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq as part of OPERATION DESERT SHIELD/ STORM. Next, he was assigned to the National Security Agency (NSA) as a signals intelligence officer in support of operations in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. BG Rank was subsequently assigned as a Middle East Foreign Area Officer (FAO). He was the first Middle East FAO to be promoted to general officer.

BG Rank’s overseas diplomatic postings include: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) as Senior Defense Official and Defense Attaché (SDO/DATT) (2015-2017); Jordan as SDO/DATT (2011-2014); Lebanon as SDO/DATT (2010-2011); Yemen as the Senior Defense Attaché (2004-2006). While serving in these U.S Embassies he was accredited to the host nations as the senior U.S. military officer representing the Secretary of Defense and was responsible for building partner capacity including execution of over $20 billion in U.S. equipment and training.  

During BG Rank’s final assignment he served as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) from 2017-2018. In this capacity he led the OSD staff responsible for formulating and advising the Secretary of Defense on Middle East policy issues as well as routinely representing OSD at the National Security Council. His other previous staff assignments included postings in the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Joint Staff and Army Staff. 

BG Rank’s education includes a B.A. in Ancient Languages from Wheaton College, 1987; an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Wheaton College, 1992; and an M.A. in Islamic Studies from the University of Virginia, 2001; an M.S. in National Security Strategy from the National War College; the Arabic and Hebrew Basic Courses; the Military Intelligence Officer Basic and Advanced Course. 

BG Rank’s awards and decorations include: the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaves, the South West Asia Bronze Star, Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War On Terrorism Service Medal, the Saudi Arabia Kuwaiti Liberation Medal, the Kuwaiti Liberation Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, and the U.S. Army Parachute Badge. 

BG Rank and his wife Paula Rank reside in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and works for Lockheed Martin as the Chief Executive in country.  In this capacity, he also serves on the Board of Trustees for Mohammed bin Salman College in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia. BG Rank also is a non-resident faculty member of the U.S. Army War College where he serves as a Highly Qualified Expert on the Middle East and as an Army Senior Mentor.  

BG Rank hails from Wisconsin and is married to Paula Rank, a 1986 Wheaton graduate, who also resides in Saudi Arabia. Paula is an attorney, accountant, and published novelist.  They have two adult children - Jared an animator, and Isaac an attorney who is also a 2014 graduate of Wheaton College.

Arabic, Hebrew

Countries of Expertise
Yemen, Lebanon, Jordan, UAE, Saudi Arabia

Contact Information

This individual is a guest contributor but is not an MEI-affiliated expert. We are not able to assist with contact requests.

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