Senior Policy Advisor

Lieutenant McKnight is the Senior Policy Advisor for the United States Coast Guard, Reserve Forces Policy Board, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C. The Reserve Forces Policy Board serves as an independent adviser to the Secretary of Defense, providing advice and recommendations to the Secretary on strategies, policies, and practices designed to improve and enhance the capabilities, efficiency and effectiveness of the Reserve components.

Lieutenant McKnight is concurrently assigned to U. S. Coast Guard Headquarters Office of Reserve Affairs, in the Reserve Policy and Plans Division. His work involves strategic workforce planning to recruit, access, organize, train, administer, and support national surge capability of over 8,000 reserve members.  Lieutenant McKnight is a native of Mobile, AL and enlisted in the U. S. Coast Guard Reserve in attending boot camp in 1990.  He served as a Port Securityman at Marine Safety Office, Mobile, AL.  In 1994, Lieutenant McKnight enlisted in the U. S. Army, attended boot camp at Ft. Knox, KY and was assigned to Headquarters, 10th Mountain Division (LI), Fort Drum, NY, Office of Civil Affairs (G5).  In 1997, Lieutenant McKnight left the Army and reenlisted into the Coast Guard Reserve and was assigned to Port Security Unit 308 in Gulfport, MS.  While assigned to PSU 308, he deployed twice to the Middle East, for Operations Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom.  Lieutenant McKnight was accepted as an officer candidate and received his commission in August 2006.  He was assigned to Sector New Orleans, LA and subsequently activated to participate in the post-Katrina Marine Debris cleanup mission along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  After two years of work, Lieutenant McKnight was offered an Active Duty assignment to Sector Mobile, AL as Marine Inspector.  In 2010, he was selected as a Reserve Program Administrator and assigned to the Coast Guard’s Personnel Services Center, Reserve Personnel Management Office as an Assignment Officer.  He departed in 2012 to be the Chief of the Reserve Force Readiness Staff at Sector Charleston, SC managing one of the largest Sector Reserve forces in the Coast Guard.

Lieutenant McKnight is a native of Mobile, AL.  He received his Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts (History and Sociology) from Regents College, NY.  His military awards include the Coast Guard Commendation Medal (three awards), Army Commendation Medal, Coast Guard Achievement Medals (three awards), Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendation (seven awards), National Defense Service Medal (two awards), Coast Guard Reserve Good Conduct Medal (five awards), Navy/Marine Corps Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (two awards), Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Coast Guard Special Operation Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with bronze hourglass and 2 mobilizations, and other campaign and unit awards. He is married to the former April Suzanne Cobb of Mobile, AL and has four children: Jillian, Jenna, Laura, and Craig.

Lieutenant James P. McKnight