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By Lynn Kirby, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
/ Published October 04, 2020
Chief of Space Operations General John Raymond promotes David Thompson to the rank of General during a ceremony in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Oct 1, 2020. (Air Force Photo by Andy Morataya)
Gen. David Thompson, Bio photo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Eric Dietrich)
In a small ceremony at the Pentagon Friday, Lt. Gen. David D. “DT” Thompson assumed responsibilities as the vice chief of space operations for the U.S. Space Force.
During the ceremony, U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. John “Jay” Raymond administered the oath of office, transferring Thompson from the Air Force to the Space Force.
“I’ve known this officer for most of my adult life,” said Gen. John “Jay” Raymond. “DT is an exceptional leader with a dedicated work ethic who truly lives our core value of service before self. He is absolutely the right person to be the Space Force’s first vice chief.”
Thompson will assist General Raymond in working across the Department of Defense on all aspects of the Space Force’s primary responsibility of organizing, training and equipping space forces to provide space capabilities for the joint force.
“The importance of the vice service chief is to be an equal partner with other vice service chiefs to advocate and provide the space perspective in Pentagon processes,” said Thompson. “Vice service chiefs work together to make sure the advocacy is right, the priority is right, the integration is right, the requirements are right, and decisions brought to the Joint Chiefs and Department Secretaries reflect all of that appropriately.”
In his new role, Thompson said the CSO has given him two immediate priorities.
“Building the service headquarters at the Pentagon and crystalizing and defining this new thing called the Space Warfighting Integration Center are what I’ll be focusing on over the next 90 days,” Thompson said.
Now that the new service has established much of its organizational structure, Thompson said the Space Force is ready to transition service headquarters type functions from Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, to the Pentagon.
The SWIC will be similar to the Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability and Army Futures Command. The plan is to make it a field operating agency or a direct reporting unit to the CSO, and will require legislative support in fiscal year 2022.
“We have conceived of SWIC as a key feature of force design and integration not just internally, but with the rest of the force,” said Thompson. “What we now need to do is the hard work of defining exactly what it’s going to do, exactly what its resources need to be, and exactly what its interfaces are going to be within the Space Force and the joint force.”
While Thompson’s promotion added a fourth star to his uniform and celebrated the Space Force’s first VCSO, it was also a moment of reflection for the man behind the position as he said farewell to his 35-year career in the Air Force.
“Today means a lot to me personally, and I was a little emotional remembering dreaming as a boy of going to the United States Air Force Academy and joining the Air Force,” Thompson said. “I always appreciated being an Airman and felt privileged to serve the great and honorable institution that is the United States Air Force. Today was my last day as an active duty Airman, and it was a little bittersweet.”
Thompson was commissioned in 1985 upon graduation from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in astronautical engineering. He is a career space officer with assignments in operations, acquisition, research and development, and academia. He has commanded operational space units at the squadron, group, and wing levels.
Thompson’s formal promotion ceremony will be held later in Colorado to celebrate this milestone with family and friends.
Technical Sgt. Armando A. Schwier-Morales contributed to this report.