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Jim Steele - Founder and CEO
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Jim Steele a strong leader, a successful senior executive and an expert in the areas of security, counterterrorism and foreign policy. He has worked extensively in some of the most interesting and dangerous places on the planet, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mexico, Central America, Southeast Asia and West Africa. His success in business is a matter of record having developed, financed, constructed and operated energy projects valued in excess of $4 billion. His insights into security, counterterrorism and law enforcement are based on extensive personal experience and make him uniquely qualified to address the mounting danger of active shooters and domestic terrorism.
Jim is the founder and CEO of JS Steele Enterprises, LLC, a new Texas-based private security firm specializing in dealing with active shooter threats, armed guard services, personal protection, security consulting and private investigations. Until recently, Jim served as Managing Director of Focus Equities, a Canadian company, headquartered in Victoria, British Columbia, with large land and infrastructure projects in western Canada. In May 2013, he returned from Geneva, Switzerland, where he served as the CEO of Buchanan Renewables BV, an energy company engaged in power generation and supply of biomass from Liberia, West Africa, to major utilities in Europe. He was invited to lecture at the Harvard Kennedy School on his unique experiences in Africa. Prior to that, at the behest of the President of the U.S. Government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation, he worked in Afghanistan and the FATA region of Pakistan to advance economic development efforts that complemented U.S. policy objectives.
Jim was also an owner of JD International, a private investigation and security firm based in Houston, Texas. In addition to private security work, he served on the Texas Governor’s prestigious Critical Infrastructure Protection Council. At the request of the Governor of Sonora, Mexico, he directed the reorganization of the state police forces to deal with the mounting danger presented by drug cartels. He became the principal interface between the state police of Sonora and the U.S. Border Patrol. The SWAT team that his group trained made what was reported to be the largest drug seizures by a state police entity in Mexican history at the time. The same team was successful in a major battle against a Zeta force in northern Sonora. The team also focused on the protection of key personnel and facilities.
Jim served nearly three years in Iraq, working in the most conflicted areas of the country, including Baghdad, Mosul, Fallujah, Ramadi, Tikrit, Samarra, Tal Afar, Karbala and Najaf. From May 2003 until assuming the position of Senior Counselor to Ambassador Bremer for Iraqi security forces, Jim was the senior police advisor with the Iraqi police SWAT unit in Baghdad. He headed the U.S. advisory team that organized, trained and operated with this special unit. He led the unit on a series of successful operations that netted former high-ranking members of the Saddam regime as well as numerous other criminal and terrorist elements. During one such operation, despite intense fire, they successful overpowered the terrorists and rescued two hostages that had been kidnapped, brutally beaten and tortured by their captors. Jim participated in the raid that resulted in the capture of Saddam’s former Minister of Interior, General Mohammed Zimam Abdul Al-Razzaq, the four of spades with a bounty of $1 million on his head. Prior to the Marine offensive in Fallujah, Jim led a small group of Iraqi police and U.S. advisors on an undercover operation into the city to assist in the recovery of the remains of the Blackwater contractors that had been ambushed and killed there.
Jim also assumed responsibility for the security of Iraq’s most senior government officials, the members of the Governing Council. In the execution of this mission, he organized and supervised the training and equipping of over 300 members of the personal security details for members of the Iraqi Governing Council and key ministries. In November 2004, the Iraqi commando unit that he was embedded with came under attack by a large insurgent force in Mosul. Jim’s actions during the battle were instrumental in defeating the enemy and saving the lives of both Iraqi commandos and U.S. soldiers. For his actions, he was awarded the Special Forces Gold Medal by the Government of Iraq.
His efforts in Iraq received substantial press coverage and favorable mention in U.S. Congressional testimony. During hearings by the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, the Deputy Secretary of Defense described Jim as having “incredible bravery and also incredible expertise about police forces in third world countries.” He characterized his work with the Iraqi police as “heroic.” In December 2004, Secretary Rumsfeld presented Jim the Department of Defense Medal of Valor for his actions under fire and the Distinguished Public Service Medal for his extraordinary service in Iraq. In an article in The New York Times Magazine, he was described as “one of the United States military’s top experts on counterinsurgency.”
Jim retired from the U.S. Army after 24 years of distinguished service. He was consistently promoted ahead of his peers culminating in his selection for promotion to brigadier general. His promotion was pending Senate confirmation at the time he left the Army to join the private sector. In early 1995, Texas oilman and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Robert Mosbacher, asked Jim to leave Enron and together form a new independent power company. In May 1995, Jim became President and CEO of Mosbacher Power Group. In that capacity, he led the successful development of power plants in the U.S. and Europe.
During his military career, Jim served in a host of leadership positions ranging from a recon platoon leader in Vietnam to the deputy commander of U.S. Army South in Panama. His regimental commander in Vietnam, General George Patton Jr., described Jim Steele as “the best small unit combat leader he had witnessed during two wars.” As a young lieutenant, Jim led a small recon patrol that came under heavy fire from a large North Vietnamese force. During the ensuing battle, Jim was shot twice attempting to aid a fallen comrade. After being evacuated to Japan to recover, Jim returned to Vietnam to command another recon unit in combat. As a colonel, he commanded the U.S. Military Group in El Salvador during the height of the guerrilla war.
In addition to administering one of the largest US military assistance programs in the world, Jim’s team was credited with training and equipping what was acknowledged to be the best counter-terrorist force in the region. He was also instrumental in the rapid response and negotiations that resulted in the safe return of President Duarte’s daughter after she was kidnapped by FMLN guerillas. Upon his departure, he was awarded the Gold Medal of El Salvador. During the Cold War, he commanded the Second Armored Cavalry Regiment stationed along the Czech and East-West German borders. During “Operation Just Cause” in Panama, with operational control of a Special Forces Group, a team of U.S. Navy SEALs, a military police battalion and civilian police advisors, Jim was the primary military interface with the new government and responsible for establishing a new professional Panamanian police force. During an attempted coup in 1990, rebels comprised of former members of Noriega’s military attempted to take him and his small team of advisors hostage. After an all-night standoff, Jim led the force that thwarted the coup and captured the rebels. For his actions, Panamanian President Endara awarded him the nation’s highest award granted to a foreigner, the Order of Vasco Nunez de Balboa.
Jim’s military decorations include the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in combat, the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, four Legions of Merit, three Bronze Stars (two for heroism/one for service), Purple Heart, and various other medals. Jim earned the Combat Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab, Senior Parachutist Badge, as well as the Salvadoran Parachutist Badge, Special Operations Badge and Aviator Wings. He is a licensed private security manager, armed security commissioned officer, private investigator and personal protection officer. Jim holds an Airline Transport License from El Salvador and a United States FAA Commercial Pilot License with helicopter and multi-engine and jet aircraft ratings. He holds a black belt in the Korean martial art of Hapkido.
Jim earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Dayton and a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the University of Florida. He is a graduate of the Army War College and from Naval War College with highest distinction. He is certified in law enforcement operations and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the International Institute for Counterterrorism. Jim also speaks Spanish.
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