Chief of Staff

Captain Michael R. Van Poots

United States European Command CJTF-HOA Chief of Staff Biography

Captain Michael R. Van Poots serves as Chief of Staff, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

A native of Sparta, N.J., he was commissioned in 1995 through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. with a degree in Engineering Physics.

Following nuclear power and basic submarine training, Captain Van Poots reported to USS BALTIMORE (SSN 704). He conducted several missions, serving as Electrical Assistant and qualifying as Diving Officer and Engineering Officer. He reported to USS MONTPELIER (SSN 765) in Norfolk in October 1997, serving as Reactor Controls Assistant, Chemical and Radiological Controls Assistant, Diving Officer, Quality Assurance Officer, and Damage Control Assistant. He qualified in Submarine Warfare and as a Prospective Nuclear Engineer Officer.

Captain Van Poots transferred to the Navy Reserve in August 2000, serving in various billets with NR COMSUBRON SIX Detachment 504, NR COMSUBGRU TEN Force Protection Detachment 2, and NR USFF MOC GRBO.

His command tours include NR RECRUITSUPUNIT Detachment 428, NR NSF NSA NAPLES Detachment C, NR NSF SUGAR GROVE, NR USW OPERATIONS Detachment N, NR NRL S&T Detachment 104, NR NRL S&T Detachment 105, and NR HQ NRL S&T Detachment 100. In 2009, he was recalled to active duty as Inspector General JTF-GTMO in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Prior to mobilizing to CJTF-Horn of Africa, Captain Van Poots served as Chief of Staff for the Office of Naval Research Reserve Component.

His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, Navy Commendation Medal with two gold stars, Navy Achievement Medal with four gold stars, and numerous campaign and unit awards.

Captain Van Poots holds a Bachelor of Science in engineering physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an M.B.A. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. in applied management and decision sciences from Walden University. He received instruction at the U.S. Navy Anti-terrorism Warfare Development Center, is a graduate of the Joint and Combined Warfighting School and the Naval War College.


Chief of Staff CJTF-HOA Africa Navy Horn of Africa HOA CJTF Joint Reserve

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U.S. Marines strengthen Djiboutian Army by leading joint bilateral academy course in Africa

The U.S. Marine Corps is arguably one of the most revered institutions within the U.S. Department of Defense. So, when Combined Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) leadership recently welcomed members of the Djibouti Armed Forces (FAD) into the U.S. Marine Corps Corporals Course, it was a distinct honor.

U.S., Japanese, French, Italian militaries partner for first multilateral NEO exercise in Africa

Initiated by the Japanese military, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) supported a joint-nation noncombatant evacuation operation (NEO) exercise and training here, Sept. 29.

AMISOM strength bolstered with AFRICOM vehicle delivery to UPDF

The African Union Mission in Somalia’s capabilities to provide security in Somalia were recently strengthened when U.S. military members of U.S. Africa Command and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa delivered nearly 20 vehicles and two storage containers to the Uganda People’s Defence Force here, Sept. 25.

CJTF-HOA 9/11 remembrance competition strengthens bodies, bonds of joint-branch warriors

Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines of Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, Camp Lemonnier and tenant units shed blood, sweat and tears during the Joint Warrior Competition here, Sept. 9.

CJTF-HOA civil affairs veterinarians assist in diminishing animal disease, overpopulation in Djibouti

The Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa’s 443rd Civil Affairs Battalion (CAB) Functional Specialty Group (FXSP) veterinarians spayed, dewormed and immunized the cats of Caritas Djibouti here, Aug 30.