Joining Forces is pleased to welcome its new Executive Director, United States Army Colonel Steve Parker. Colonel Parker is honored and privileged to work with the First Lady on behalf of his fellow service members, veterans and their families. His main focus will be to mobilize communities to take action, through collaborative networks of public and private partners on behalf of America’s veterans, survivors and military families.
Colonel Parker has served in a variety of assignments over his 25 year career; and as Soldier, father, and husband, he has seen and experienced the unique challenges faced by our Nation’s heroes and their families. Experiences that will serve him well in leading Joining Forces. Following graduation and commissioning from the United States Military Academy at West Point, he served as an Air Defense Artillery platoon leader, commander and staff officer in Germany, Desert Storm and Korea.
As a Foreign Area Officer he served as a United Nations Military Observer in Western Sahara and Morocco and studied counter-insurgency operations at the Zimbabwe Defense Forces College. He has been assigned to US Embassies in Zimbabwe and the Republic of Djibouti. While in Djibouti, Colonel Parker played a leading role in establishing the conditions for Combined Joint Task Force—Horn of Africa. He later served as Deputy Executive Officer and Aide de Camp to the Commander, US Africa Command.
His commands and operational assignments include the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) at Fort Drum, NY, where he was a Battery Commander, Battalion Executive Officer and Battalion Commander. He served as Commander of the 10th Special Troops Battalion – leading an organization of nearly 1,000 soldiers and civilians, during year-long combat operations in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM and OPERATION NEW DAWN.
Previously, Colonel Parker was selected as a White House Fellow in 2005, where he served on the Domestic Policy Council and in the Office of the First Lady. Following the fellowship, Colonel Parker served as a speechwriter for the Chief of Staff of the Army. He most recently served as the Director of Operations, Plans, Training and Simulations for Fort Sill and the US Army’s Fires Center of Excellence.
A graduate of the Defense Language Institute where he studied French, COL Parker also earned an MA in African Studies from Yale University and a BS from the United States Military Academy. Colonel Parker has been awarded the U.S. State Department’s third highest Medal for Service and the Republic of Djibouti’s second highest award for contributions to that nation—the 27 June Medal. Other awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, the United Nations Medal, the Presidential Service Badge, and the Ranger Tab.
Steve and his wife Riva have four children: daughter, Zoe; and sons, Noah, Caleb and Eli. Riva is an accomplished corporate attorney now serving as a Department of the Army Civilian and labor counselor in the office of the Staff Judge Advocate at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.