Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, a studious, introverted former Army Ranger, is one of the Democratic Party’s eminent voices on military affairs. But in neighborhoods hit hard by foreclosures, like the West End of Providence, it is Mr. Reed’s lesser-known expertise on housing policy that is proving critical these days...More on Reed’s impeccable resume:
Mr. Reed, 58, is perhaps best known for his repeated efforts last year to set a deadline for the withdrawal of American military forces from Iraq. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, but his diminutive height — 5 feet 7 inches on a good day, he says — makes his Special Forces background seem both improbable and all the more intimidating.
He has taken frequent trips to Iraq on which he goes out in the field with troops and surveys territory and operations that would most likely be off limits were it not for his close relationships with so many commanders. Mr. Reed is a former paratrooper retired from active duty as a captain, did time as a professor at West Point and is a member of the academy’s Board of Overseers. All in all, his military credentials have some Democrats speculating about him as a potential vice-presidential nominee or, more likely, as a secretary of defense in an Obama administration.
Prior to serving in the Senate, Reed was a three-term Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Rhode Island's 2nd Congressional District.
After graduating from West Point and receiving an active duty commission in the United States Army, Reed attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University where he received a Masters of Public Policy. Reed, an Army Ranger and a paratrooper, served in the 82nd Airborne Division as an Infantry Platoon leader, a Company Commander, and a Battalion Staff Officer. He returned to West Point in 1978 as an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Sciences.
Reed resigned from the Army as a Captain in 1979 and enrolled at Harvard Law School. In 1982, he graduated from Harvard and served a year as an associate with the Washington, DC law firm of Sutherland, Asbill, and Brennan. In 1983, he returned to Rhode Island and joined the Providence law firm of Edwards and Angell. Reed was elected to the Rhode Island State Senate in 1984 and served for three terms.