Mr. Jess Soto
is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chair and Assistant Professor at the National War College/National Defense University. He is a retired Army Colonel, who served on active and reserve duty for over 30 years. Prior to assuming his current position he was as a Department of the Army Civilian working as a Program Integrator/Manager on the Headquarters, Army Staff, G -3/5/7, Training Directorate at the Pentagon. During his military career he served in combat arms units (infantry/artillery) in both command and staff positions up through division level. He also served in joint staff and key leadership positions at MACOMs, COCOMs, HQDA, OSD and DIA. He is fluent in Spanish and has traveled and worked extensively throughout Latin America planning, coordinating and conducting joint military and humanitarian assistance exercises. His academic teaching experience has been as Assistant Professor of Military Science at Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska and as a Faculty Member at the National Defense Intelligence College, Washington, DC. He has also conducted professional development seminars in USERRA employment law and mediation nationwide to Ombudsmen for the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), Office of the Secretary of Defense. He has completed all requisite professional military education and many certification courses to include the Army Management Staff College, Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, Post-graduate Intelligence Program, US Army Organizational Leadership for Executives, and the US Army Continuing Education for Senior Leaders Course. Some of his awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Award, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. In 2005 he was inducted to the US Army Infantry School, Officer Candidate School (OCS) Hall of Fame and received the Order of Saint Maurice from the National Infantry Association. He was a member of the National Honor Society, Alpha Gamma Sigma at Fresno City College; received a State of California Graduate Fellowship; and a National Guard Association of California Scholarship. Jess was born and raised in the Chicago/Metro area and graduated from Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond, Indiana. He earned an AA from Fresno City College; a BS from University of the State of New York, a MS from Central Michigan University; and a MS in Project Management from the University of Maryland. He is married to the former Ana Gabriella Marques of Montevideo, Uruguay and they have a teenage daughter. Jess enjoys jazz/classic music, keeping a tropical fish aquarium and jogging.