Colonel Abigail Linnington, F04, FG13, is a special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and director of the Chairman’s Action Group. She graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1995. After graduation, she attended the U.S. Army’s Aviation School, becoming a rated aviator in the UH-60 (Blackhawk) and OH-58 (Kiowa) helicopters. A variety of tactical aviation assignments followed, including platoon commands in the XVIII Airborne Corps and the 3rd Infantry Division, as well as company command in the Eighth U.S. Army (Republic of Korea).
In 2002, Colonel Linnington was selected to return to West Point as an instructor in the Department of Social Sciences. In preparation, she completed a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. in international relations at The Fletcher School, Tufts University, and taught courses on international relations, international negotiations, and conflict resolution. In subsequent assignments, she served as a strategist and military planner at the U.S. Central Command, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, and U.S. Joint Forces Command. In 2009, she assisted with the creation of an interagency task force to assist with rule of law initiatives in Afghanistan and deployed the following year as an advisor to the Commander, Combined Joint Interagency Task Force - 435 (Rule of Law). From 2012 to 2014, she was the lead speechwriter for the 38th Chief of Staff of the Army, General Raymond T. Odierno. In her last assignment, she was the senior plans advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy for all U.S. European Command and U.S. Special Operations Command plans.
As director of the Chairman’s Action Group, she supports the chairman in his role as the senior military advisor to the President, Secretary of Defense, Cabinet Secretaries, Congress, National Security Council, and foreign leaders. She is also responsible for developing and executing the chairman’s engagement strategy with foreign governments, domestic groups, and the military.