Join Air Force Lieutenant General Anthony Cotton for a discussion about how military service can build technology leaders. Lt Gen Cotton is the Deputy Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, which is responsible for the nation’s three intercontinental ballistic missile wings, the Air Force’s entire bomber force, and Air Force Nuclear Command, Control and Communications systems. Lt Gen Cotton leads more than 33,700 military and civilian professionals assigned to the command.
Lt. Gen. Anthony Cotton is the Deputy Commander, Air Force Global Strike Command and Deputy Commander, Air Forces Strategic-Air, U.S. Strategic Command, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. AFGSC provides strategic deterrence, global strike capability, and combat support to STRATCOM and other geographic combatant commands. The command is comprised of more than 33,700 professionals operating at two numbered air forces; 11 active duty, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve wings; and the Joint Global Strike Operations Center and the Nuclear Command, Control and Communications Center. Weapons systems assigned to AFGSC include all Air Force Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and bomber aircraft, UH-1N helicopters, E-4B National Airborne Operations Center aircraft, and the Air Force NC3 weapons system.
Lt. Gen. Cotton entered the Air Force through the ROTC program in 1986 where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. He has commanded at the squadron, group, and wing levels. He served as the Deputy Director of the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Executive Action Group, as the Senior Military Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, and Deputy Director of the National Reconnaissance Office. He was also the Vice Commander and Commander of the 341st Missile Wing, Malmstrom AFB, Montana, and the Commander of the 45th Space Wing and Director of the Eastern Range, Patrick AFB, Florida. Prior to his current assignment, Lt. Gen. Cotton served as the Commander and President, Air University, Air Education and Training Command, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.
1986 Bachelor of Science, Political Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh
1991 Master of Science, Administration, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant
1992 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2001 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2005 U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pa.
2006 Enterprise Leadership Seminar, Kenan-Flagler School of Business, University of North Carolina, Chapel
2007 Phase II PME, Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va.
2009 Senior Managers Course on National Security, National Security Studies Program, The George Washington
University, Washington, D.C.
2012 Capstone General and Flag Officer Course in Joint and Combined Studies, National Defense
University, Washington, D.C.
2014 AFSO 21 Executive Leadership Course, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
2017 Leadership Decision Making, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
2018 The Harvard Seminar for New Presidents, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, Mass.
2018 Leadership at the Peak, Center for Creative Leadership, Colorado Springs, Colo.
1. October 1986-July 1991, Missile Combat Crew Commander; Standardization and Evaluation Missile Combat
Crew Commander; Chief, Standardization and Evaluation Operations and Procedures Branch and Wing Executive
Officer, 91st Missile Wing, Minot Air Force Base, N.D.
2. July 1991-April 1994, Command Operations Evaluator 3901st Missile Evaluation Squadron and Chief of
Protocol, 20th Air Force, Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
3. April 1994-April 1997, Space Surveillance Crew Commander, Flight Commander, Cheyenne Mountain
Air Force Station, Colo.
4. April 1997-January 1999, Chief, Space Surveillance Optical Section; Space Surveillance Program
Element Monitor; and Executive Officer to the Director of Operations, Headquarters Air Force Space
Command, Peterson AFB, Colo.
5. January 1999-June 2000, Executive Officer to the Commander, 14th Air Force, Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
6. June 2000-June 2001, Student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
7. June 2001-March 2004, Operations Officer, 45th Range Squadron; Commander, 3rd Space Launch
Squadron; and Deputy Commander, 45th Operations Group, Patrick AFB, Fla.
8. March 2004-June 2005, Student, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pa.
9. June 2005-March 2008, Deputy Director, Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Executive Action
Group; Director, Preparation and Planning; and Senior Military Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense
for Intelligence, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
10. April 2008-July 2009, Commander, Space Operations Group, Aerospace Data Facility-East, Fort
11. July 2009-May 2010, Vice Commander, 341st Missile Wing, Malmstrom AFB, Mont.
12. May 2010-August 2011, Commander, 341st Missile Wing, Malmstrom AFB, Mont.
13. August 2011-June 2013, Commander, 45th Space Wing, and Director, Eastern Range, Patrick AFB,
14. June 2013-November 2015, Deputy Director, National Reconnaissance Office, Chantilly, Va.
15. November 2015-January 2018, Commander, 20th Air Force, Air Force Global Strike Command,
Francis E. Warren AFB, Wyo.
16. February 2018–October 2019, Commander and President, Air University, Air Education and Training
Command, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
17. October 2019–present, Deputy Commander, AFGSC, Barksdale AFB, La.
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. March 2006-June 2007, Director, Preparation and Planning; and Senior Military Assistant to the Under
Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., as a colonel
2. June 2007-April 2008, Senior Military Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, the
Pentagon, Arlington, Va., as a colonel
3. April 2008-July 2009, Commander, Space Operations Group, Aerospace Data Facility-East, Fort Belvoir,
Va. (National Reconnaissance Office), as a colonel
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with oak leaf cluster
Combat Readiness Medal with oak leaf cluster
National Defense Service Medal with device
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
National Reconnaissance Office Medal of Distinguished Performance
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant June 7, 1986
First Lieutenant June 7, 1988
Captain June 7, 1990
Major March 1, 1998
Lieutenant Colonel March 1, 2002
Colonel Dec. 1, 2006
Brigadier General Nov. 10, 2011
Major General July 6, 2015
Lieutenant General Feb. 15, 2018
(Current as of October 2019)