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Captain Jeff W. Benson

Chief of Staff, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command


In a naval career spanning more than twenty years, Captain Jeff Benson has deployed to the Middle East and Indo-Pacific regions serving aboard four destroyers: USS JOHN YOUNG (DD 973), USS ROSS (DDG 71), USS MILIUS (DDG 69), and USS STETHEM (DDG 63). From 2015 to 2019, he led STETHEM forward deployed in Japan as the ship’s Commanding Officer and Executive Officer during numerous operations throughout the Indo-Pacific region, including Taiwan Strait Transits, Freedom of Navigation Operations, and multi-carrier operations. Captain Benson also served as the Operations Officer in Destroyer Squadron Fifteen embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73).

Captain Benson most recently served as the Division Chief for China and Taiwan in the Strategy, Plans, and Policy Directorate (J5) for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has served in several other staff positions, including at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI), the Surface Warfare Officer’s School, the Chief of Naval Operations’ Strategic Studies Group, and Texas A&M University NROTC. Early in his career, Captain Benson also served on staff in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Congress, and the Office of Naval Intelligence.

In 1997, Captain Benson earned his undergraduate degree from Texas Christian University and received his commission from Officer Candidate School. He has a Master of Public Service and Administration and a Certificate in Advanced International Affairs from The George H.W. Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, a Master of National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College, and a Master of National Security Strategy from the National War College.

His personal awards include: the Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (Second Award), Navy Commendation Medal (Third Award), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the U.S. Navy League’s Stephen Decatur Award for Operational Competence, the Surface Warfare Officer’s School Arleigh Burke Award, and the Office of Naval Intelligence on the Spot Award.

Captain Benson’s next assignment will be as the first Commanding Officer of USS LOUIS H. WILSON, JR. (DDG 126), a new Flight

III Arleigh Burke class destroyer built in Bath, ME.