Commander Franca R. Jones is a native of Brooklyn, New York. She attended St. John’s University in Queens, New York, and received a B.S. and M.S. in biology in 1991 and 1994, respectively. She completed her Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology in 1999 at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and conducted postdoctoral studies at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.
Following completion of her postdoctoral studies, Jones accepted a direct commission as a lieutenant in the Navy Medical Service Corps in April, 2002. Since her commission, she has held a variety of challenging assignments, which focus on disease surveillance, infectious disease research, biodefense operations, and biosecurity.
Her first assignment was overseas with Naval Medical Research Unit-6 in Lima, Peru, as Department Head of Bacteriology. After her successful tour in South America she returned stateside in 2004 to serve as Branch Head for Clinical Microbiology at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C. In 2005 she was selected the Navy’s Biological Defense Fellow and joined Naval Medical Research Center in Silver Spring, Md., as division officer of the Biological Defense Operations Department.
In 2008 she reported to the Pentagon as the Department of Defense (DoD) Biosecurity and Biosurveillance Lead in the Chemical and Biological Defense Program (CBDP). During her tour at the Pentagon she deployed for six months to Kandahar, Afghanistan as a plans, operations, and medical intelligence officer.
In September 2010, while detailed to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, she led the development of administration policy on chemical and biological defense, biosecurity, and biosurveillance. In 2012, in collaboration with the National Security Council, she co-developed the administration's National Strategy for Biosurveillance, followed by the Global Health Security Agenda in 2014, among others.
Jones was subsequently selected by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense to serve as Director of Medical Programs for the CBDP. From 2013 - 2015 she led the DoD’s medical countermeasure response to the West African Ebola epidemic and response to the inadvertent shipment of live anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) samples from a DoD lab to almost 200 labs worldwide.
In August 2015, she was selected by the Defense Health Agency as Chief, Global Emerging Infections Surveillance Section to oversee a $60M global infectious disease surveillance portfolio in 80 countries to ensure force health protection and readiness of the Joint Force.
Commander Jones currently serves as Executive Officer of the Naval Medical Research Center.