Major General Michael R. Lehnert, USMC (Ret.) was the first commander of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. He holds a Masters degree in International and Strategic Studies at the Naval War College.
General Lehnert was deployed to Guantanamo Bay on December 21, 2001 as Commander of Joint Task Force 160. He served until March 28, 2002. During his time at Guantanamo Bay, he participated in the construction and operation of detention facilities. He was replaced by two commanders — one in charge of intelligence gathering and one in charge of supervising the detention of the detainees.
General Lehnert was the subject of Karen Greenberg’s 2009 book, The Least Worst Place: How Guantanamo Became the World's Most Notorious Prison
In May 2015, General Lehnert authored a letter in support of closing Guantanamo Bay. He stated, “Keeping the prison open undermines American laws and values, and it harms our national security.”
During his 37 years of active duty, General Lehnert held 13 separate commands, including commanding the marine logistics group during Operation Iraqi Freedom and as Chief of Staff at United States Southern Command.
General Lehnert is currently a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow for the Council of Independent Colleges, where he lectures on leadership and ethical decision-making.