Lieutenant General Furness is currently the Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policy and Operations, Headquarters, United States Marine Corps. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on May 16, 1987 upon graduating from the Virginia Military Institute. Throughout his career he has served in a variety of command and staff billets in both the operating forces and the supporting establishment. As a lieutenant he served as a rifle platoon commander and 81mm mortar platoon commander in the Second Marine Division with the 3d Battalion, 4th Marines and the 2d Battalion, 8th Marines. As a Captain and Major he served in the 1st Marine Division as the Commanding Officer of Company K, and the Operations Officer of the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines. As a Lieutenant Colonel he again served in the 1st Marine Division as the G3 Plans Officer, Deputy G-3, Commanding Officer of 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, and then as the Executive Officer of the 1st Marine Regiment. As a Colonel he commanded the 1st Marine Regiment. As a General Officer he commanded Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, and the 2d Marine Division.
In the Supporting Establishment he has served on the staff of The Basic School as a Staff Platoon Commander and as a Tactics Instructor for both the Basic Officer and Infantry Officer Course, as Commanding Officer of Recruiting Station Sacramento, California, as the Director, Marine Corps Legislative Liaison Office, United States House of Representatives, as the Director of Expeditionary Warfare School, as the Legislative Assistant to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and as the Assistant Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policy and Operations, Headquarters, United States Marine Corps.
His professional military education includes The Basic School, the Infantry Officer Course, the U.S. Army Infantry Officer Advanced Course, the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, the School of Advanced Warfighting, and the National War College. He has earned Masters Degrees from both the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the National War College.
He has participated in contingency operations in the Republic of Panama, and in the following named operations: Operation Provide Comfort, Operation Unified Assistance, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom.
His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (3), Bronze Star Medal with combat distinguishing device (2), Combat Action Ribbon (3), Meritorious Service Medal (2), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2), and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. He is married to the former Lynda Taylor of Richmond, Virginia and they have four children, David (29), Elizabeth (24), Benjamin (20), and Zachary (18).