PORTLAND, Ore. – Col. John S. Kem, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwestern Division was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in the U.S. Army in a formal ceremony Oct. 10 in Washington D.C. General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, hosted the event.
Prior to assuming Command of Northwestern Division, Brig. Gen. Kem served as the Chief, Programs Division, Office of the Chief of Legislative Liaison for the U.S. Army.
Brig. Gen. Kem was born in Chicago and commissioned in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after graduating as a distinguished cadet from the U.S. Military Academy with a B.S. in civil engineering in 1985. Additionally, he holds an MBA from Kellogg Business School and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University.
His awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Senior Parachutist Wings, Pathfinder Badge, Combat Action Badge and Ranger Tab. Brig. Gen. Kem is a Registered Professional Engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia and a Chartered Financial Analyst.
As commander of the Corps’ Northwestern Division since July 2013, he oversees a workforce of over 5,000 and a combined $3 billion program in civil works, disaster response, military construction, and environmental restoration and cleanup carried out by five district offices located in Omaha, Neb., Kansas City, Mo., Seattle and Walla Walla, Wash., and Portland, Ore.