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Release No: 347-97
July 01, 1997


Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has announced the designation of United States Marine Corps Reserve Brig. Gen. Arnold L. Punaro, as a member of the Reserve Forces Policy Board effective July 1, 1997. Punaro currently serves as the commanding general, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Command.

The 24-member board was created by Congress in 1952. Acting through the assistant secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, the board serves as the principal policy advisor to the secretary of Defense on reserve component matters. Members include the assistant secretary responsible for reserve affairs from each of the military departments, and active and reserve component general and flag officers representing all Services, including the Coast Guard.

Born in Augusta, Ga., the general's military career spans more than 30 years in both the active service and the USMCR. He saw active service both in Vietnam as an infantry platoon leader, and the Gulf War. In December 1993, he completed a tour of extended active duty as the commander of Joint Task Force Provide Promise (Forward) in command of U.S. Forces service in former Yugoslavia. His military experience includes service in a variety of staff and operations positions, and several command billets before assuming his current position in July 1995.

Punaro holds a bachelor's degree in English from Spring Hill College in Augusta, as well two master's degrees -- one in journalism from the University of Georgia, and the other in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. He has also completed numerous military schools including The Basic School, Civil Affairs Course, Law of War Course, Reserve Components National Security Course and Land Force Staff Planning Course.

His military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V", the Purple Heart, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Joint Meritorious Unit

Award, Meritorious Unit Award with three bronze stars, National Defense Service Medal with one Bronze Star, Vietnam Service Medal with three bronze stars, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation with Gallantry Cross Color and Palm, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation with Civil Action Color, First Class, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

From 1973 to 1997, he worked for the Senator Sam Nunn in national security matters. He served as his director of National Security Affairs and then as staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee (8 years) and staff director for the Minority (5 years).

In civilian life, Punaro is senior vice president for Corporate Development of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). He is also an adjunct professor in the Graduate School at Georgetown University. He currently resides in McLean, Va.

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