James Laster is employed as a Senior Fellow for the National Defense University in support of the Pinnacle, Capstone, and Keystone programs.
Lieutenant General Laster is a native of Dallas, Texas, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1978 through the Platoon Leaders Course Program.
Major assignments included: Commander, Headquarters and Service Company, I MEF, and Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Intelligence Group; Executive Officer and Operations Officer, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines; Commander, Maritime Special Purpose Force (MSPF), 15th MEU (SOC); Deputy AC/S G-7 and Inspector, 1st Marine Division; J-3 of Joint Task Force Kenya in support of Operation Noble Response, Humanitarian Relief operations in Kenya, East Africa; and Commander, 3d Battalion, 4th Marines.
Lieutenant General Laster also held a variety of additional important command and staff positions including: Chief of War Plans, Joint Staff, J-7; Assistant Chief, Future Operations Group, Joint Staff J-3; Commander, Basic School; Chief of Staff, Training and Education Command; Commander, Training Command; Commanding General, Training and Education Command; Commander, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina and Eastern Recruiting Region; Commander, 3d Marine Division; Deputy Chief of Staff, Joint Operations, ISAF Joint Command; and Chief of Staff, U.S. Special Operations Command.
Lieutenant General Laster is a graduate of New Mexico Military Institute and Southwest Texas State University and holds a Master of Science degree in National Strategy from the National War College. He was awarded the Leftwich Trophy in 1989 for outstanding leadership.
Lieutenant General Laster retired in January 2018.