Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin – who is also Lt. Col. Tim Griffin in the U.S. Army Reserves – has been accepted into the prestigious U.S. Army War College program to earn a master’s degree in strategic studies.
Completing the two-year program helps officers like Griffin advance to the next rank, colonel, and is required to become a general.
Griffin is a judge advocate general officer, the Army’s legal branch. He serves as the deputy commander of the 139th Legal Operations Detachment and drills one weekend a month in Nashville, Tenn. The unit consists of about 50 soldiers, including officers who are attorneys and enlisted paralegal soldiers. His duties while on drill include administrative work and ensuring his unit’s members are deployable.
Based in Carlisle Barracks, Pa., the Army War College instructs soldiers in strategic studies, which includes working with other branches of the armed forces, with other countries, with nongovernmental agencies, etc. Griffin’s classmates include officers from the infantry, armor and other types of units.
Core courses begin in July and include significant reading, writing and collaboration on projects with other students. Griffin also will travel to Carlisle Barracks for two weeks in the summer of 2017 and two weeks in the summer of 2018.
“I’ve had a lot of people tell me this is is a big commitment,” he said. “It is doable. It is achievable, but you just have to stay on top of it.”
Griffin will be eligible to become a full colonel in 2018. He will have 20 years in the service in June and considered retiring. When he decided to stay in the Army, he sought the added responsibilities of serving as a deputy commander.
“I made the decision I’m going to stay in,” he said. “Once I did that, it was very clear to me that I needed to be all in.”
In a draft of his recent officer evaluation report, his senior rater said Griffin has “unlimited potential” and that he ranks among the top three of the 130 lieutenant colonels he rates. He recommended that Griffin be promoted to colonel “ahead of peers; he is that good.”
Griffin was called to active duty in 2006 and was sent to Mosul, Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division. There, he participated in combat briefings to ensure the unit was complying with international law and was responsible for a variety of areas, including detainee issues, helping soldiers write wills, and disciplinary issues. He was promoted to major while in Mosul.
Griffin’s two roles came in conflict in May when he was under orders May 19-20, the first two days of the Legislature’s recent special session on highways. That meant he was not able to preside over the Senate while it was in session, one of the lieutenant governor’s few constitutional duties. Griffin pointed out that, while that role is important, lieutenant governors historically have not always sat in the chair during sessions.
Griffin said his Army service has helped him be a better lieutenant governor by furthering his education and by helping him better understand military and veterans’ issues.
“I’m in the current Army, so I know the current state of affairs. I think all of that’s helpful,” he said.
Griffin’s grandfather, who died before Griffin was born, served in France in World War I.
“One of the best decisions I ever made was to join the Army,” Griffin said. “I love it. I recommend to all young people to give service in the military serious consideration. The country needs you, but it also can be very beneficial to each and every one of the people that sign up.”
Griffin’s political career also includes two terms (2011-2015) as Arkansas’ 2nd District Congressman. His congressional activity included being a member of the House Armed Services Committee, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the House Committee on Ethics and the House Committee on the Judiciary.