Major General Arnold Fields retired from the United States Marine Corps in 2004 after over 34 years of active military service. At the time of his retirement he was serving as the Deputy Commander of Marine Corps Forces in Europe. Previous general officer assignments included Director of the Marine Corps Headquarters Staff; Commanding General of Marine Corps Bases in Hawaii: and Commander of U.S. Central Command’s Forward Headquarters, with dual responsibilities as Central Command’s Inspector General. He was selected for advancement to brigadier general in 1996 while serving on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon as Chief of the Evaluation and Analysis Division of the Plans, Operations and Interoperability Directorate (J7). During Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the 1991 Gulf War, General Fields, then a Lieutenant Colonel, commanded a Marine Corps motorized infantry battalion in combat operations against the Iraqi Armed Forces. From 1986 until 1988 he served as the commanding officer of all Marine Corps embassy and consulate security guards in 17 North Africa and Middle East countries.
After retirement, he served with the Department of State assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Iraq from August 2004 until October 2005. There he served as Chief of Staff of the Department’s Iraq Reconstruction and Management Office, which coordinated the execution of over $18.4 billion dollars of U.S. funds for Iraq’s reconstruction. In January 2007 the Deputy Secretary of Defense appointed General Fields to serve as Deputy Director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, the pre-eminent department of Defense institution for strategic security studies, research, and outreach in Africa.
In June 2008, he was appointed by The President of the United States to establish and head the Office of Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a federal agency that provides oversight of all U. S. funds appropriated for reconstruction in Afghanistan, which had risen to over $61 billion dollars during General Fields’ tenure. He held this position until February 2011.
His undergraduate education was at South Carolina University and his graduate degree is from Pepperdine University. General Fields is also a graduate of the Army War College, the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and South Carolina State University. He has attended several seminars at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, which focused on U.S. national security interests in post-Soviet Union Russia and Black Sea nations.
General Fields is appointed by the Secretary of the Navy to the Board of visitors at Marine Corps University, Quantico, Virginia. He is a board member of the Wounded Warrior Family Support Foundation, the Wounded in Action Family Foundation, and the Future Farmers of America (FFA) Foundation, as a member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. He was installed a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) on 17 November 2011. Chartered by Congress, NAPA is a non-profit, independent coalition of top public management and organizational leaders who tackle the nation's most critical and complex challenges.
General Fields’ military personal decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal with combat “V”, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon. His civilian awards include the Department of State Superior Honor Award for service in Iraq and the South Carolina Order of the Palmetto, the State’s highest honor awarded by the Governor. General Fields was born and raised in Early Branch, South Carolina.