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Jonathan Robert Fowler, more commonly known as J. Robert Fowler, is the former President of the United States who served from 1989 until his resignation in 1991. He appears in several Tom Clancy novels as well as the film, The Sum of All Fears.

Clear and Present Danger

A former prosecutor, Fowler served as the Governor of Ohio and was running against the incumbent president in the 1988 Presidential Election. His campaign manager was Arnold van Damm. To garner support for his election, Fowler rallies the American public against the current president's failure in the War on Drugs. Fowler later wins the election after the President intentionally loses in order to conceal covert operations that had taken place in Colombia (Operation Reciprocity) and to protect the honor of those involved. Fowler assumed office on January 20, 1989 with Roger Durling as his Vice President

The Sum of All Fears


By 1991, Fowler had become well established being a President who opposed capital punishment in favor of broad social programs. He angered many of his supporters and Key adviser, Elizabeth Elliot, when he refused to commute the death sentences of the Ulster Liberation Army members who had attempted to kidnap the Princes of Wales, William Holmes in 1981 such as Sean Miller. His wife later died due to complications from multiple sclerosis, leading him to engage in a sexual relationship with Elizabeth Elliot. Motivated by his public image and desire to secure a legacy, Fowler is manipulated by Elliot to take credit for Jack Ryan's peace settlement between opposing countries in the Middle East during the signing of the treaty.

Following the detonation of a defective nuclear bomb at the Super Bowl in Denver which lead to the deaths of Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, and Commander of NORAD, Fowler orders the enactment of DEFCON-1 and prepares for nuclear war with the Soviet Union. The crisis is averted, however, when Jack Ryan learns of the domestic origin of the bomb's plutonium and convinces the Soviet President to stand down.

Despite this, the Iranian Ayatollah Mahmoud Haji Daryaei is falsely implicated by the terrorists that had detonated the nuclear weapon. Through Elliot's advice, Fowler's decision-making deteriorates rapidly and he orders a nuclear strike on the Ayatollah's residence in the holy city of Qom. Jack Ryan once again averts the crisis by enforcing the two-man rule and lies to Fowler, claiming that Qom was destroyed. Afterwards, the terrorists revealed that Iran was not involved and that they were attempting to discredit the United States in order to destroy the peace settlement. Two days later, Fowler subsequently resigns in disgrace as President while Elizabeth Elliot is forceably removed from her position. Fowler is succeeded by his Vice President, Roger Durling.


In 2002, Fowler was making a speech at the White House Correspondents dinner when a chemical bomb was dropped on Chechnya. Fowler was taken to an underground bunker where he was advised by Gene Revell to give a heavy response.

Fowler attends the Super Bowl in Baltimore with CIA Director William Cabot. Jack Ryan warns Cabot of a nuclear bomb threat which leads to the evacuation of the President. Despite this, Cabot is killed and the city is destroyed. Russia is implicated in the attack which is further reinforced by an attack on the USS John C. Stennis in the North Sea by a corrupt Russian Air Force general. While escaping the area, Fowler motorcade is blown off the road though he survives and is airlifted to a Boeing E-4B. Aboard the plane, Fowler enacts DEFCON 2 and plans to counterattack. As a precaution, he has the Secret Service escort Julie to an underground Bunker in Nevada.

Jack Ryan later learns from the radiation assessment team that the bomb was manufactured at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, exonerating the Russians. Ryan manages to reach the National Military Command Center in The Pentagon and establishes contact between President Fowler and Russian Federation President Alexander Nemerov. Fowler and Nemerov are informed of the bomb's origin and Ryan convinces both men to stand down as a show of good faith, averting nuclear war. Afterwards, Fowler and Nemerov announce new measures to counter nuclear proliferation in joint speeches at the White House.


  • Secretary of State - Sidney Owens
  • Secretary of Defense - David Becker
  • Director of the CIA - William "Bill" Cabot
  • National Security Advisor - Gene Revell

  • Trivia

    • According to an audio commentary in the DVD release of the film adaptation, Clancy stated that he based Fowler on 1988 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, further explaining that left-wing politicians are more likely to use nuclear weapons than right-wing ones.
    • He is nicknamed "Hawk" by the U.S. Secret Service.