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John E. Wagner
Leadership Role
Associate Commissioner for External Affairs - Office of External Affairs ( - )

photo of John "Wolf" Wagner
John E. Wagner

Mr. John Wagner is a Native of Athens, Ohio, and was graduated from Ohio University's College of Communications in 1985 and was commissioned in the U.S. Army from OU's ROTC the same year.

Mr. Wagner has extensive experience in both the Military and Civilian realms.

He has 35 years in Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard service and 22 straight months in Iraq and Kuwait. While deployed to OIF I and II, he served in various positions on the staffs of Lt Generals David McKiernan, Rick Sanchez, GEN George Casey, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Admiral) Greg Slavonic, and Major General Erv Lessel. His assignments included handling media during Saddam Hussein’s arraignment, numerous press conferences, and serving as the Intelligence Liaison to the Interim Iraqi Government under MG Barb Fast. He developed U.S. media strategy for addressing anti-coalition press and propaganda in Arab media during the battles of an Najaf and Fallujah, as well as many other special assignments in Baghdad.

He received a Bronze Star for actions in combat in Baghdad.

Mr. Wagner retired from the U.S. Army as a Major after 35 years of service.

Most recently, Mr. Wagner was appointed as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the department of Veterans Affairs. Mr. Wagner was the senior executive under the Assistant Secretary, overseeing Intergovernmental and Public Affairs operations. Mr. Wagner advised the Secretary, White House, and other government officials regarding Veterans issues and directed the ChooseVA campaign.

Previously, Mr. Wagner served as the Deputy Director of Communications during the GOP Convention in Cleveland, where he supervised media engagements, established surrogates for the Candidate, and developed communications plans.

Prior to joining the administration, Mr. Wagner served at U.S. CENTCOM as an Intel Analyst and media consultant as well as a Public Affairs officer. He served with CENTCOM for 7 years, covering operations and Special Activities.

After his return from Baghdad, Mr. Wagner was heavily involved in Hurricane Katrina, where he developed the briefing and presentation material for the Joint Chiefs and the Secretary of Defense for the commander of US NORTHCOM. He also worked in the coordination of relief efforts among all the major US agencies- Corps of Engineers, FEMA, Homeland Security, as well as Red Cross and other supporting agencies.

In civilian life, he was a founding partner/owner and CTO for an airline based overseas and has also worked as an independent IT consultant. He is an experienced leader and technologist with over twenty years of experience in Information Technology within the Fortune 100, to include well-known companies Accenture, IBM, WorldCom, Sprint, Ford Motor, Marriott Hotels, DuPont, Caterpillar, and Time Warner Telecom. He has spearheaded business development solutions in Asia for many companies.

In the Defense arena, Mr. Wagner was a consultant to Boeing Systems as a lead consultant for the Future Combat Systems development, on the C4ISR and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle platforms, developing and assisting with integration models and methods.

Mr. Wagner was heavily involved in the development of "New Media" - writing for one of the largest and most awarded military blogs (milblogs) on the internet - and has been a contributing writer to major online outlets.

Mr. Wagner was involved in the founding of a new Veterans Organization- the Warrior Legacy Foundation. This foundation was based on the now-defunct Veterans for Freedom organization. Mr. Wagner served on the Board of the foundation and serves as its interim director.

Mr. Wagner was also a founding member of several New Media companies whose focus was to bring Soldier-related content to both New Media and 'Legacy Media' outlets.

Mr. Wagner has an extensive background in public speaking and addressing the media. He has been interviewed on CNN, Fox, BBC, AP, as well as many other publications around the world. He has interviewed with the NY Times, Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, LA Times, and other regional publications. He has been a featured speaker for US Congressmen and Senators, as well as many large corporations. He speaks on a variety of issues, from Technology to the Military, to his experiences overseas.

Mr. Wagner describes himself as a "functional gear head," and enjoys skiing, motorcycling, and collecting vehicles.

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