James "Hondo" Geurts

Customer Advisory Board

Secretary James Geurts, known to most as Hondo, has over three decades of leadership in the national security sector. Known for abilities to rapidly field emerging technologies, deliver outcomes at scale, inspire teams, and develop diverse talent, he is a proven leader, even in the most challenging and complex situations. Most recently, he performed the duties of the Under Secretary of the Navy, where he served as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Management Officer for the Department of the Navy and was responsible for the effective global business operations of the over 1 million person/$200B+ U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps team. After his unanimous Senate confirmation in 2017 and until 2021, he served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition, where he was responsible for overseeing a budget in excess of $140B annually and ensuring procurement and sustainment of platforms, systems, technologies, and services to enhance the capabilities and readiness of Sailors and Marines serving around the globe in defense of the nation.


Before coming to the Navy, Secretary Geurts served as the U.S. Special Operations Command Acquisition Executive, where he was responsible for all special operations forces acquisition, technology, and logistics during a period of unprecedented operational tempo worldwide. He began his career as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a Colonel after 22 years of service. While in uniform, he served as an acquisition program manager with engineering and program management leadership positions in numerous complex weapon systems. He is the founder of SOFWERX, Naval X, and the Ghost Mentor Program, all of which have been emulated across the DoD and other Federal agencies as a means to drive innovation into large public sector organizations.


He has been recognized nationally and internationally by private and public institutions for his leadership, innovation, and service including award of the Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Medal (twice), the Federal Times Vanguard Award for Executive of the Year, the United States Special Operations Command Medal and Colors, the French Legion d’ Honneur (Knight), the Presidential Rank Award, the William Perry Award, the Rylander Award, the Raduege Award, and the Defense Superior Service Medal. His innovative practices have been documented and referenced in numerous books and publications, including an active Harvard Business School case study and CNN specials.


He is married to his high school sweetheart, Dr. Kelly Geurts, and they have two adult sons. He is an endurance sport enthusiast, having completed multiple Ironman races, marathons, and endurance swims.

James "Hondo" Geurts