Jack Ryan, Sr.
Jack Ryan (All Characters)
Basic Information
Name: John Patrick Ryan, Sr.
Status: Alive
Age: 67
Date of birth: May 17, 1950
Nationality: Flag of the United States American
Affiliation: Formerly:
United States Marine Corps
Profession: President of the United States
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Family Information
Father: Emmett Ryan (d. 1974)
Mother: Catherine Burke (d. 1974)
Marital status: Married
Spouse(s): Caroline Ryan
Children: with Caroline Ryan:
Sally Ryan
Jack Ryan, Jr.
Kathleen Ryan
Kyle Ryan
Played by: Alec Baldwin
Harrison Ford
First appearance: The Hunt for Red October
Last appearance: Commander in Chief

Jack Ryan (full name John Patrick Ryan, Sr., Ph.D., CPA, KCVO) (born May 17, 1950) is a character created by Tom Clancy who appears in many of his novels. The novels and film adaptations in which the character appears are collectively referred to as the "Ryanverse".


Born in 1950, he was the son of Emmett William Ryan (1922-1974), a police homicide lieutenant and World War II veteran. The elder Ryan had served with the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division at the Battle of the Bulge. His mother Catherine Burke Ryan (1923-1974) was a nurse.

After graduating from Loyola High School in Towson, Maryland, Ryan attended Boston College, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Economics (strong minor in history) and later became a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, passing the School of Infantry, and Officer Candidate School, and later became his infantry unit's strong man. Ryan passed the Certified Public Accountant exam while waiting for the Marines to assign him to a duty station.

And he is also known as jovial, adventurous, courageous, kind, rational, dignified, aspiring, noble, jolly, affectionate, courteous, knowledgeable, responsible, fatherly, assertive and nice.

After finishing The Basic his military career was cut short at the age of 23, when as part of the Atlantic, his platoon's helicopter, a CH-46 Sea Knight, crashed during a NATO exercise over the Greek island of Crete. Ryan's back was badly injured in the crash. Surgeons at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda made inadequate repairs to his back. This led to a lengthy recovery process (during which he was nearly addicted to pain medications) after which, complete with a permanent disability and wearing a back brace, he left the Marine Corps. He passed his stock broker's exam and took a position with the Baltimore office of the Wall Street investment firm Merrill Lynch. (The Hunt for Red October film tells Ryan's story differently: Admiral Joshua Painter states that he attended the United States Naval Academy, and that in the "Summer of his third year, he went down in a chopper accident. Bad. Pilot and crew killed. That kid spent 10 months in traction and another year learning to walk again. He did his fourth year from the hospital." The film is inconsistent with the novels, which are generally considered canonical.)

His parents died in a plane crash at Chicago's Midway Airport only 19 months after his crash in Crete. He developed a fear of flying that persists for years.

While managing clients' portfolios, he began to invest his own money, banking on a tip he had received from an uncle about the workers' takeover of the Chicago and North Western Railroad, making approximately $6 million off his $100,000 initial investment. He did so well that a senior VP of Merrill Lynch, Joe Muller, came to Baltimore to have dinner with him, with the objective of inviting him to the New York City headquarters. Also present was Muller's daughter Caroline Ryan, nicknamed Cathy, then a senior medical student at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. They immediately fell in love and got engaged. One night, while having dinner with his fiancée, Ryan threw out his back and Cathy took him directly to Dr. Stanley Rabinowitz, professor of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, to be evaluated. Rabinowitz later operated on Ryan's back and cured his chronic pain in relatively short order. Ryan subsequently persuaded the government to terminate his disability checks. Cathy later became an ophthalmic surgeon at the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a Professor of Surgery at Johns Hopkins.

After having his net worth assessed at $8 million, Ryan left the firm after four years and enrolled at Georgetown University for his doctorate courses in history. He did a brief stint at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, then accepts a position at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland as a civilian professor of history.

First CIA WorkEdit

Following a recommendation of Father Tim O'Riley, PhD, S.J., (a Georgetown University professor) to a CIA contact, Ryan was asked to work as an outside consultant for the Agency, although officially employed by MITRE Corporation. He agreed and spent several months in Langley, Virginia, where he wrote a paper entitled "Agents and Agencies", in which he maintains that state-sponsored terrorism is an act of war. He also invented the canary trap, a method for exposing an information leak, which involves giving different versions of a sensitive document to each of a group of suspects and seeing which version gets leaked. By making sure that each copy of the document differs slightly in its wording, if any copy is leaked then it is possible to determine the identity of the informant.

Both of these accomplishments came to the attention of Admiral James Greer, the Deputy Director Intelligence at the CIA. The expertise of Ryan's report, plus the application, persuaded Admiral Greer to offer him a permanent job in the CIA, but Ryan turned it down.

While Ryan was still teaching at the Naval Academy, he and his family (wife and daughter Sally) took a trip to London for research and vacationing. After spending the day sifting through British Navy archives doing research for a book on the British naval war in the Indian Ocean during World War II, Ryan walked to meet his family at a London park. As he joined them, members of the Ulster Liberation Army, an ultra-violent Maoist offshoot of the IRA, headed by a man named Kevin O'Donnell, attacked a car containing the Prince of Wales and his family right in front of Ryan, his wife, and his daughter. Ryan intervened in the attack and foiled their plan, wounding one gunman and killing the other, who fired simultaneously and wounded Ryan.

Sean Miller, the man he wounded, vowed revenge on Ryan and his family. But since he was going to Albany Prison on the Isle of Wight, the threat didn't seem serious. After being invested as a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order by the Queen, Ryan returned to the U.S. and the Academy. When O'Donnell and the ULA sprung Miller on his way to Albany Prison (killing both police officers and civilians in the process), Ryan and his family became the target of their revenge—particularly Miller's.

CIA CareerEdit

Admiral James Greer came to Ryan and asked him to return to join the CIA permanently as an analyst to help track down the terrorists. He declined initially, only to accept it later after a failed attack on himself and his family by the ULA severely injured his wife and daughter when Miller fires off a full clip from a Uzi on a freeway. Later, while Ryan hosted the Prince and Princess of Wales at his home in Maryland, the ULA made a second attack on the Ryans, which was foiled by Jack, the Prince, and Commander Robert Jackson, USN who kill several of the terrorists and manage to get reinforcements . Following the incident and arrest of the ULA who are purposely not extradited by the British Government who let them get sentenced to the death penalty in Maryland ( Gas Chamber), he was re-assigned to London as a member of a liaison group to the British Secret Intelligence Service.

Ryan's assignment to London focused on a daring mission to assist the defection of a KGB communications-center officer who had discovered that KGB director Yuri Andropov had ordered the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II. Although Ryan and a small team of British agents helps the "Rabbit" and his family get to the West, they failed to prevent the attack on the Pope. Nevertheless, "Rabbit's" defection proved to be a major coup for both American and British intelligence. Ryan soon afterward suggested a non-military strategy to help hasten the USSR's collapse.

Captain First Rank Marko Ramius, the Soviet Navy's top submarine commander, took command of the Красный Октябрь (Red October), the newest Typhoon Class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. Ramius's mission was to test the sub's new silent "Caterpillar" drive, but Ramius and a select group of his officers were actually planning to sail the submarine to the coast of the United States and defect. When Soviet officials in Moscow received a letter from Ramius informing them of this, they sent out most of the Soviet Northern Fleet with orders to find and destroy the Red October.

Secret photographs of the Red October were delivered to Ryan. He showed them to several naval officers familiar with missile submarines. From there he went to the Pentagon and finally to the White House. With the President's approval, a plan was created whereby, when the Red October approached the American coastline, it would be captured and hidden. At the same time, an older U.S. submarine would be intentionally destroyed and sunk in that vicinity. Then the Soviets would be informed it was the Red October. This began a week of intense search efforts, where Soviet, American, and British surface ships, submarines, and helicopters were all deployed in what became a hide-and-seek operation.

When Ryan and a Royal Marine Lieutenant, Owen Williams from the Royal Navy Aircraft Carrier Invincible finally boarded the Red October, more problems arose. Ryan heard a gunshot in another part of the Red October and he made his way to the submarine's missile room with Captain Ramius. There they encountered a GRU operative covered as a member of the ship's crew who was attempting to sink the Red October by activating one of her solid-fuel missiles with the launch tube hatch closed, which would incinerate everyone on board. The GRU agent had already killed Captain Lieutenant Gregoriy Kamarov, one of Red October's officers, and wounded Owen Williams. Ryan was forced to kill the GRU operative to prevent the destruction of the ship.

After being hit by a torpedo from an Alfa-class Soviet attack submarine, the heavily damaged Red October, having rammed and destroyed its opponent, was still able to advance unseen into the U.S. Naval Shipyard at Portsmouth, Virginia. The defectors were lodged at a CIA safe house near Charlottesville, Virginia and Ryan flew back home in time for Christmas.

Ryan was later reassigned to Langley. He became Greer's assistant with the official title of Special Assistant to the Deputy Director for Intelligence. Greer was grooming the rising analyst for bigger and better positions, maybe even his own job when the veteran spy finally retired. Ryan was dispatched to Moscow as part of the American strategic nuclear weapons reduction negotiation team. There he met Sergey Golovko, a rising star in the KGB hierarchy, and eventually became entangled in a complex web related to both the race to develop "Star Wars" space-based defensive technology and engineer another defection, this time compromising the KGB director to save the CIA's highest informant in the USSR, Agent CARDINAL, better known as Colonel Misha Filitov. Although they initially met as adversaries—literally at gunpoint on one of the runway of Moscow's main airport — Golovko respected him as a worthy adversary and in later novels becomes friends with Ryan, whom he calls "Ivan Emmetovich," giving him a Russian-style patronymic based on his father's name, Emmett.

Ryan was then promoted to acting DDI when Greer was hospitalized with cancer. Despite this he was kept out of the loop on a highly covert and illegal CIA operation approved by corrupt US National Security Adviser Admiral Cutter. This operation targeted Colombian drug lords using military assets, in what was usually considered a law enforcement area. Ryan eventually worked with the FBI to rescue a small group of American soldiers cut off in the Colombian wilderness, which forced him to miss Greer's funeral. Around this time Ryan also ran afoul of Elizabeth Elliott, international affairs adviser to Presidential Candidate Ohio Governor J. Robert Fowler, and a former professor of Cathy Ryan's.

Ryan then reached his highest post at the CIA; Deputy Director of Central Intelligence. His career was placed in jeopardy when Fowler became President and Elizabeth Elliott became both National Security Adviser and Fowler's lover/manipulator. They not only denied Ryan any credit for an innovative Middle East Peace Plan, but also panicked when terrorists detonated a nuclear bomb in Denver during the Super Bowl and nearly plunged the world into a Soviet-American nuclear war. Ryan defused the nuclear crisis by commandeering the Washington-Moscow hot line and convinced the Soviet premier (through his friend Golovko) that the crisis was a setup. He then refused to confirm Fowler's order to launch a nuclear missile at Qom (thus preventing the attack), where the Iranian Ayatollah lived. The crisis effectively ended both Fowler's administration and Ryan's career at the CIA.


Ryan returned to government service to deal with a second war between Japan who had decided to resurrect their imperial ambitions and the United States. For a brief time Ryan was the National Security Adviser, but when Vice President Ed Kealty was forced to resign after a sex scandal, President Roger Durling taps him for the job. Ryan accepted the Office of Vice President on the condition that it was only until the end of Durling's current term. He saw this as a way of ending his public life. He was barely confirmed by Congress when a Japanese airline pilot deliberately crashed his 747 onto the Capitol during a joint session of Congress, killing most of the people inside, decapitating the U.S. government, and elevating Ryan to the Presidency.

The reluctant yet determined Ryan Administration emerged as Ryan slowly rebuilt the government. He was faced with political trickery by Ed Kealty, and a deadly plague initiated by the newly formed United Islamic Republic, resulting in two major military conflicts far from American shores.

Ryan had completed Durling's term as President and had campaigned for—and won—the next Presidential election. He retained most of his emergency Cabinet and had Robby Jackson as Vice President.

Ryan had to deal with the attempted assassination of Golovko, head of the SVR (formerly the KGB) who narrowly escaped a Rocket propelled Grenade. This turned out to be an attempt to sow confusion in the Russian government because of China's designs to annex Eastern Siberia, where geologists had discovered a large amount of oil and gold. These events eventually lead to the inclusion of Russia into NATO and the assistance of U.S. Forces in the Sino-Russian War. When the Chinese began losing the war, U.S. forces began to target their strategic assets. An SSN sank a Chinese SSBN, which caused the Chinese Politburo to panic and to increase the readiness of their 12 land-based ICBMs. U.S. Forces did not have the ability to destroy the silos, as they could only use deep penetrating bombs, which had all been used to destroy Chinese bridges to disrupt the PLA's logistical support. This caused the U.S. and Russia to send a joint RAINBOW and Spetsnaz team to destroy the silos. They destroyed 11 of the 12 ICBMs but one of them managed to launch. The warhead headed towards Washington, DC; and with Ryan taking command of an Aegis missile cruiser, the ICBM was intercepted by ABM's from the USS Gettysburg. With the looming defeat of the PLA in Siberia, which they learned about via live UAV broadcasts from the CIA through the Internet, student demonstrators in Beijing raided the Politburo, which caused a conservative minister to take control and arrest the perpetrators of the war in Siberia and surrender to the U.S. and Russia.

Following this, Ryan apparently completed his term as president and refused to run for a second elected term. Robby Jackson thus campaigned to become the first African American President, but a member of the Ku Klux Klan assassinated him on a trip to the South, which enabled Ed Kealty to become the next President. (It was also possible from what Jack Ryan, Jr. said in Teeth of the Tiger that his father resigned, feeling he had done what he needed to as President, propelling Robby Jackson to the Presidency.) Before Ryan actually left office, he created "The Campus," a secret counter-terrorism organization that fronts as Hendley Associates, a financial trading company. He also wrote Presidential pardons out to all of its members, with the assistance of his Attorney General Pat Martin.

In his retirement, Ryan was living easy with a comfortable net worth of over $80 million. He was currently working on two versions of his memoirs, one for immediate release, and another detailing his career at CIA, to be published posthumously. However, in Dead or Alive, he has decided to run for a second term as President due to the fact that Ed Kealty, has been unable to govern effectively and has undone many of the reforms the Ryan Administration put in place.

The Ryan DoctrineEdit

Ryan, in the tradition of Presidents Monroe, Truman, Carter, Reagan, and Bush, issued a foreign policy doctrine which largely defined his administration's international perspective. The Ryan Doctrine stated that the United States will no longer tolerate attacks on "our territory, our possessions, or our citizens," and added that whoever orders such an attack will be held accountable by the United States.

This statement came soon after the Ebola attack on the United States ordered by Mahmoud Haji Daryaei, the dictator of the new United Islamic Republic. Ryan announced the new doctrine on the same day that Daryaei was killed by two stealth bombers, on Ryan's orders. Therefore, the Ryan Doctrine apparently superseded the executive order put in place by President Ford, which forbid the assassination of foreign heads of state. Ryan, however, believed it was a more ethical alternative than all-out war, since it punished the person responsible for the attack instead of the people he ruled.

The Ryan Doctrine was not officially invoked after Daryaei's death (although Ryan threatens to use it on the Chinese leadership in The Bear and the Dragon, should anything happen to American citizens living in the People's Republic of China as a consequence of the Siberian War).


In the novel, Patriot Games was a prequel to The Hunt for Red October, However, the chronology of the movies was altered for The Sum of All Fears. While the novel takes place after Clear and Present Danger, the film takes place earlier in Ryan's career.

The Sum of All Fears was not part of the Alec Baldwin/Harrison Ford trilogy, but rather an intended reboot of the franchise. The discrepancy can be seen in the fact that he met John Clark for the first time in Clear and Present Danger and the Clark character was significantly different; Ryan is also married in the first three films.


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It was reported on January 21, 2008, by the Empire official website and Moviehole, that a new reboot of the Jack Ryan franchise will take place in the near future, featuring Ryan Gosling in the title role. The film will be titled By Any Means Necessary.


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On March 18, 2008, Variety reported that Sam Raimi and Paramount Pictures were in negotiations to have Raimi direct the franchise reboot, with intentions of having him spearheading multiple sequels. At the time, Tom Clancy was writing a new novel. Paramount had not decided to use this new story, or create an original story for the Jack Ryan reboot.


Five movies and one TV series have been produced based on Tom Clancy novels featuring Jack Ryan, starring five different actors as Ryan:

See AlsoEdit