Jim Webb presently serves as the senior Senator from Virginia.
As a combat Marine in Vietnam, an attorney, a senior defense department official, an Emmy-award winning journalist, a film-maker, and the author of nine books, Jim Webb has maintained a life-long commitment toward protecting America's national security interests, promoting economic fairness and social justice here at home, and increasing the accountability of government. In 2007, following his first-ever run for political office, he brought those passions with him to the United States Senate. By the fall of 2008, Washingtonian Magazine had picked him as the "Rising Star" in the magazine's "Best & Worst of Congress" edition, Politico newspaper had named him "Rookie of the Year" in Congress, The Atlantic magazine named him one of the world's 27 "Brave Thinkers," and Esquire Magazine had counted him among the 75 most influential people of the 21st century, for doing "more to repair his party's relationship with the military" than anyone since the Vietnam War.
Arriving in the Senate with long experience in military and veterans affairs, on his first day in office Webb introduced a comprehensive 21st century GI Bill for those who have been serving in our military since 9/11, and within 16 months had guided the most significant veterans legislation since World War Two through both houses of Congress, prompting The Atlantic Magazine to term him "the master of the Senate." Along with Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, he created the Wartime Contracting Commission, with responsibility for bringing accountability for fraud, waste and abuse brought about by the often-unsupervised contract processes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Long dedicated to reforming our criminal justice system, Webb designed and chaired a series of committee hearings and conferences to examine the issues of mass incarceration and policies toward drugs, and became one of the strongest voices in Congress on the need for a top-to-bottom restructuring of the criminal justice system.
In addition to these individual endeavors, Webb has remained an active voice on military, economic and foreign affairs through his membership on the Armed Services, Foreign Relations, Joint Economic and Veterans Affairs committees. With long experience overseas that predates his time in the Senate, particularly in Asia, Webb now serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs on the Foreign Relations Committee. He also serves as the chairman of the Personnel Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee.
Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Webb is a descendent of the Scots-Irish settlers who came to this country in the 18th century and became pioneers in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. Webb graduated from the Naval Academy in l968, receiving the Superintendent's Commendation for outstanding leadership contributions while a midshipman, and subsequently chose a commission in the Marine Corps.
First in his class of 243 at the Marine Corps Officers' Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, Webb served with the Fifth Marine Regiment in Vietnam, where as a rifle platoon and company commander in the infamous An Hoa Basin west of Danang he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star Medal, two Bronze Star Medals, and two Purple Hearts. He later served as a platoon commander and as an instructor in tactics and weapons at Marine Corps Officer Candidates School, and then as a member of the Secretary of the Navy's immediate staff, before leaving the Marine Corps in 1972.
Webb received his J.D. at Georgetown University Law Center in 1975. He served in the U.S. Congress as counsel to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs from 1977 to 1981. In 1982, he led the fight for including an African American soldier in the memorial statue that now graces the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, and wrote the inscription at the base of the flag pole. In 1984, he was appointed the inaugural Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. In 1987, he became the first Naval Academy graduate in history to serve in the military and then become Secretary of the Navy.
In addition to Webb's public service, he has enjoyed a long career as a writer. He has authored nine books, including Fields of Fire, widely recognized as the classic novel of the Vietnam War, Born Fighting, an ethnography that explores how the Scots Irish shaped America, and A Time to Fight, his latest best-selling non-fiction about reclaiming a fair and just America. He has worked extensively as a screenwriter and producer in Hollywood, taught literature at the Naval Academy as their first visiting writer, has traveled worldwide as a journalist, and earned an Emmy Award for his PBS coverage of the U.S. Marines in Beirut. In 2004, Webb went into Afghanistan as a journalist, embedded with the U.S. military.
Webb speaks Vietnamese and has done extensive pro bono work with the Vietnamese community dating from the late l970's. He is the proud father of children Amy, Jimmy, Sarah, Julia, Georgia, and step-daughter Emily. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife Hong Le Webb.