General Al Gray, USMC (Ret) serves as Chairman of the Board of the Potomac Institute of Policy Studies (PIPS). The PIPS serves as a non-partisan, not-for-profit policy research institute that provides an academic forum for the study of key national security, science and technology, and related policy issues. In addition to participating in monthly seminars related to the global terrorism challenge, he oversees the Center for Emerging Threats and Opportunities (CETO), which operates as a futuristic think tank for the Marine Corps at Quantico.
General Gray has served as Board Chairman and CEO for several public and private companies and has consulted to United States and international industry and government. General Gray’s other duties have included service on the Defense Science Board; the Defense Special Operations Advisory Group; the National Security Agency Science Advisory Board; the National Reconnaissance Office Gold Team; the Defense Operations Support Office Advisory Team; and as Director of the Advanced Concept Demonstration Technology for Combat in the Littorals. Consistent with his interest in education and helping servicemen and women, he is trustee Emeritus of Norwich University, past trustee on Monmouth University, past member of the National Defense University Board of Visitors and is Chairman Emeritus of American Military University. He is Chairman Emeritus of The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund and the America Fund, having served over ten years, to help take care of wounded veterans and their families.
General Gray currently serves as Chancellor of The Marine Military Academy, Chairman of the US Marine Youth Foundation, Board of Trustee Chairman at the American Public University System, and Senior Mentor to the Defense Science Study Group.
In 1991, Al Gray retired after 41 years of service to the United States Marine Corps. From 1987-1991, General Gray served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was the 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps, and was advisor to both Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush. As Commandant, he instituted and published a Warfighting Philosophy for Marines based on the Maneuver Warfare Thought Process. General Gray developed and implemented a new long-range strategic planning process for the Marine Corps, established the Marine Corps University, and implemented other longstanding changes, such as ensuring that every Marine is a rifleman first and that the Marine Corps was Special Operations Capable.
General Gray enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1950 and achieved the rank of Sergeant while serving in amphibious reconnaissance with Fleet Marine Force, Pacific aboard the submarine USS Perch (ASSP-313). He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1952. In the early years, he held extensive assignments overseas in the Far East and Southeast Asia in infantry, artillery, intelligence, communications and special operations. He has held every infantry command assignment from platoon commander through Division Commander and has commanded every Marine Air Ground Task Force from Marine Corps Expeditionary Unit to Marine Expedition Force.
Among his awards are two Defense Distinguished Service Medals, two Navy Distinguished Service Medals, Distinguished Service Medals from the US Army, the US Air Force and the US Coast Guard, the Silver Star Medal, two Legion of Merits with Combat "V", four Bronze Star Medals with Combat "V", three Purple Hearts, three Joint Commendation Medals, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm and Star, as well as foreign awards from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Korea and The Netherlands.
General Gray holds a B.S. from the University of the State of New York. He also attended Lafayette College, the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the Army War College. General Gray is the recipient of two honorary Doctor of Law degrees, one from Lafayette College and the other from Monmouth University, and was awarded a Doctor of Military Science from Norwich University. He was the first awardee of an Honorary Doctorate of Strategic Intelligence from the Defense Intelligence College (now the Joint Military Intelligence College), was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for Leadership from the Franklin University, an Honorary Doctorate for Public Service from the American Public University System, and an Honorary Doctorate of Warfare Studies from the Marine Corps University.
In 2008, General Gray was inducted into the National Security Agency Hall of Honor for rendering distinguished service to American Cryptology.