Jack Jacobs was born in Brooklyn, New York. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Rutgers University and entered the U.S. Army in 1966 as a Second Lieutenant through the ROTC program. He served as a platoon leader in the 82nd Airborne Division, executive officer of an infantry battalion in the 7th Infantry Division, and commanded the 4th Battalion 10th Infantry in Panama. A member of the faculty of the US Military Academy, Jacobs taught international relations and comparative politics, and he was a member of the faculty of the National War College in Washington, DC.
He was in Vietnam twice, both times as an advisor to Vietnamese infantry battalions, earning three Bronze Stars, two Silver Stars and the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest combat decoration. Jacobs retired as a Colonel in 1987.
He was a founder and Chief Operating Officer of AutoFinance Group Inc, one of the firms to pioneer the securitization of debt instruments; the firm was subsequently sold to Key Bank. He was a Managing Director of Bankers Trust, where he ran foreign exchange options worldwide and was a partner in the institutional hedge fund business, raising more than $2 Billion. Jacobs subsequently founded a similar business for Lehman Brothers and retired again in 1995 to pursue investments.
He is a principal of The Fitzroy Group, a firm that specializes in the development of residential real estate in London and invests both for its own account and in joint ventures with other institutions. He serves on a number of charitable boards of directors and is the Vice Chairman of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. He holds the McDermott Chair of Humanities and Public Affairs at the US Military Academy and is an on-air analyst for NBC News, where he was an Emmy nominee in 2010 and 2011 and a recipient of the 2011 Murrow Award for his work on the Nightly News segment “Iraq: The Long Way Out.” Colonel Jacobs is also the author of the Colby Award-winning memoir, If Not Now, When?, published by Penguin in October 2008. His second work of non-fiction, Basic, was released by St. Martin’s Press in 2012.