After graduating from Westhill High School in Onondaga County, Francis received a nomination from Congressman James Walsh and was later accepted into the Naval Academy Class of 2001. Francis graduated from the Naval Academy three months before 9/11. Shortly after, Francis reported to the U.S.S. WASP where, at 23 years old, he led a division of almost 40 sailors and was tasked with maintaining the propulsion of a 40,000-ton ship. Francis would later serve on the USS Carney, an Arleigh Burke-Class Destroyer, where he navigated the ship as an Officer of the Deck and trained the crew to respond to damage.
Following his tours at sea, Francis served in the Office of Naval Intelligence where he led a branch of analysts to produce critical intelligence, and volunteered in 2008 to serve on President Obama’s Armed Forces Inaugural Committee.
In 2010, Francis was re-activated and deployed with Army Special Forces into a combat zone in Iraq where he worked alongside Iraqi Forces and planned the safe withdrawal of U.S. Special Forces from Iraq. After his return from Iraq, Francis utilized the G.I. Bill to receive an MBA from the University of Maryland, and earned a MA in National Security Studies from the Naval War College. Francis continued his service at the Pentagon as a policy advisor to Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Jim Mattis. He advised on U.S. Defense Policy for Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel drafting strategy that protected U.S. interests and strengthened our partnerships in the Middle-East, which resulted in being awarded the Defense Meritorious Achievement Medal.