Major General Paul Kennedy was commissioned a second lieutenant on May 18, 1985. From 1986 to 1989, and again from 1994 to 1997, he served as an infantry officer within the 1st Marine Division (2/4, 2/9, and 3/9) and deployed multiple times to the Western Pacific aboard amphibious platforms. He returned to the Division as the G-3 Plans/Future Ops officer for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (2002) and later as the commanding officer 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, deployed to Operation IRAQI FREEDOM-2 in the city of Ramadi, Iraq (2004). He subsequently commanded the 2d Marine Regiment, from 2008 to 2011, and deployed to Operation ENDURING FREEDOM as CO RCT-2 in northern Helmand Province, Afghanistan (2010-2011). In 2013 he was assigned as Commanding General, 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, where he led the initial response to Operation DAMAYAN (Philippine typhoon, 2013) and Operation SAHAYOGI HAAT (Nepal earthquake, 2015). He is currently the Commanding General of the Marine Corps Recruiting Command.
His non-operational assignments include instructor duty at The Basic School and Infantry Officer Course (1989-1993); served as the commanding officer of Recruiting Station San Francisco (1997-2000); Director of Legislative Affairs to the U.S. House of Representatives (2006-2008); Director, Division of Marine Corps Public Affairs, Headquarters Marine Corps (2011-2013).
Major General Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Boston University (1985). He received a Master of Military Science from Marine Corps University (2001), and a Master of Arts in National Security Strategy from the National War College (2006). His other formal military education includes The Basic School (1985), the Infantry Officers Course (1986), the Amphibious Warfare School (1994), and the School of Advanced Warfighting (2002).
Personal decorations include the Legion of Merit (with two Combat "V" and two gold stars); the Bronze Star Medal; the Purple Heart; the Combat Action Ribbon (with Bronze Star); the Presidential Unit Citation, and Navy Unit Commendation (with Gold Star)