A native of South Saint Paul, Minnesota, General Thomas D. Waldhauser (Ret.) was commissioned in 1976 as an Infantry Officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. Throughout his 43 years of military service, General Waldhauser has led at all levels, including Commanding Officer of 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (SOC); Commanding General USMC Warfighting Lab; Deputy Commander USMC Combat Development Command; Chief of Staff, U.S. Special Operations Command; Commanding General, First Marine Division; and Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies, and Operations at Headquarters Marine Corps. He has participated in Operation Desert Storm, Desert Shield, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom.
As the Commanding General for both I Marine Expeditionary Forces (I MEF) and U.S. Marine Forces Central Command 1 (MARCENT), General Waldhauser led both wide-ranging organizations simultaneously, and was the last general officer to do so before the role was restructured into 2 separate general officer billets.
He was then selected to serve as Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, operating in a highly trusted capacity to advise and shape policies and operational strategies impacting the entire DoD organization.
Subsequently, General Waldhauser was appointed Director of Joint Force Development (J7) for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. During his tenure at the J7, General Waldhauser led the development of joint operations strategies and partnered with U.S. congressional members to develop the Goldwater-Nichols Act Reform.
Prior to retiring from the military in 2019, General Waldhauser was the Combatant Commander for U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), where he led all-aspects of U.S. security operations across the entire continent of Africa, spanning 53 nations. In this role, General Waldhauser developed overarching strategies to promote defense, diplomacy, and development throughout the region. Often working with African-nation Presidents and senior officials, General Waldhauser cultivated relationships supporting allied nations while solidifying the U.S. as a preferred partner.
General Waldhauser’s post-military career includes a position on the Board of Governors for the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, as well as a position as a Fellow at National Defense University where he assists with the CAPSTONE course for newly promoted Brigadier Generals and Rear Admirals.
General Waldhauser is a graduate of Bemidji State University and the National War College with an MS in National Security Strategies. His military awards include Defense Superior Service Medal (x3), Legion of Merit with Valor, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (x4), Navy Achievement Medal (x2), and a Combat Action Ribbon.