Robert William Cone
Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1979
Engagements: • Gulf War (1990 - 1991)• Afghanistan War (Operation Enduring Freedom) (2001 - present)• Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom) (2003 - 2011)
Robert William Cone
Robert William Cone was born in 1957 and is a native of Manchester, NH. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1979 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Armor Branch. Cone earned a Master of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1987 and was inducted in the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. He served as both an instructor and Assistant Professor in the Behavioral Sciences and Leadership Department at West Point. He earned a Master of Arts Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies in 1998 from the Naval War College and was named "Graduate of Highest Distinction." Additionally, Cone was a Fellow in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar XXI Program.
His military education includes the Naval War College; the Army Command and General Staff College; the Infantry Officer Advanced Course; and the Armor Officer Basic Course.
Cone has served in a variety of command, staff, and operational assignments in the U.S., Germany, and Southwest Asia.
His first duty assignment was in the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, TX, where he served as a Platoon Leader and Troop Executive Officer in the 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment (2-1 CAV). In October 1981, Cone became the Aide-de-Camp to the Assistant Division Commander, 2nd Armored Division. He then served as the Battalion Maintenance Officer, Combat Service Support Company Commander, and Tank Company Commander in the 1st Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment (1-67 AR).
He attended the Infantry Advanced Course in 1985 followed by graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin. Next, Cone served as an Instructor and Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at West Point.
After selection and completion of Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS, he reported to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Fulda, Germany. Cone served as the 2nd Squadron Operations Officer (S-3) during Operation Desert Storm, became the Regimental Operations Officer (S-3) in November 1991, then the Regimental Executive Officer in March 1993. He left the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in the spring of 1994.
Next, Cone moved to Fort Bliss, TX, and became the Regimental Executive Officer of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. He assumed Command of the 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in October 1994. After Squadron Command, he served as the Special Assistant to the Commanding General, Fort Carson, CO, then reported to the Naval War College in Newport, RI, in the summer of 1997.
Cone became the Division Operations Officer (G-3) of the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Hood, TX, in July 1998. He assumed Command of the 2d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, the following year. His Brigade deployed to the Republic of Korea as part of Exercise Foal Eagle. Additionally, he led his Brigade in the Army's Division Capstone Exercise in April 2001 as the culminating event in the development of the heavy digital force.
Following Brigade Command, Cone served as the Director of the Joint Advanced Warfighting Program, Institute for Defense Analyses located in Alexandria, VA, where he was responsible for developing joint force concepts and experiments. He participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 as the Director of the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) Joint Lessons Learned Collection Team. Cone was tasked to capture, document, and report real time lessons learned from combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. His work led to the establishment of the Joint Center for Operational Analysis at JFCOM. After returning from the Middle East, Cone served as the Director of the JFCOM Joint Center for Operational Analysis in Suffolk, VA.
Commanding General, National Training Center
In September 2004, Cone became the Commanding General of the Army's National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, CA. During his 33-month command, Cone implemented a broad array of changes reorienting training on counterinsurgency operations. In conjunction with the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), Cone established the Joint Center of Operational Excellence in training for the defeat of improvised explosive devices at the NTC.
Commanding General, Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan
Operation Enduring Freedom
Cone deployed to Afghanistan in June 2007 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and assumed command of the Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan (CSTC-A). His 18-month command focused on developing the Afghan National Army and Police. During his tenure, the Afghan National Army expanded from 50,000 troops to close to 80,000 and a broad array of reforms were implemented to address corruption and training in the Afghan National Police.
After returning from Afghanistan, he served as the Special Assistant to the Army Chief of Staff then became the Special Assistant to the Commanding General of the Army's Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) where he was responsible for officer and enlisted Soldier Initial Entry Training.
Commanding General, III Corps and Fort Hood
Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn
In September 2009, Cone assumed command of III Corps and Fort Hood, TX. In March 2010, Lieutenant General Cone deployed to Iraq with III Corps Headquarters and became the Deputy Commanding General for Operations, the second highest ranking military officer in U.S. Forces - Iraq until 8 February 2011. He had responsibility for operations throughout the entire country including the development and training of fielded Iraqi Security Forces. He oversaw the transition from Operation Iraqi Freedom and counterinsurgency operations to Operation New Dawn and stability operations. This transition included the drawdown of service members from roughly 100,000 to less than 50,000 and the transfer of more than 120 bases, the largest single movement of military personnel and equipment since World War II. General Cone returned to Ft. Hood on 9 February 2011.
General Cone served as Commanding General of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, VA, from 29 April 2011 to 14 March 2014, when he retired from the Army.
Medals, Awards, Badges & Tabs
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
General Cone is also the recipient of the Ghazi Wazir Mohammad Akbar Kahn State Medal from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
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