Major General Furness 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 the operating forces. 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 once 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 and deployed as Regimental Combat Team-1 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 11.1. As a Brigadier General, he served as the Commanding General of Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa.
In the Supporting Establishment, he has served on the staff of The Basic School as a Staff Platoon Commander and a Tactics Instructor for both the Basic Officer and Infantry Officer Course, as the Commanding Officer of Recruiting Station Sacramento, California, as the Director, Marine Corps Legislative Liaison Office, United States House of Representatives, the Director of the Expeditionary Warfare School, and as the Legislative Assistant to the Commandant of the Marine Corps.
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 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, School of Advanced Warfighting, and the National War College. He has earned a Master’s Degree from both the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the National War College.
His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (2), 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. They have four children.