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Leadership

Major General Christopher S. Povak

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Maj. Gen. Christopher S. Povak is the Deputy Director, National Reconnaissance Office, Chantilly, Virginia. In this role, he assists the Director in managing the strategic and tactical priorities of the NRO including the design, acquisition, launch and operations of the nation’s satellite reconnaissance capabilities.  As the Commander, Space Force Element, General Povak leads the military personnel assigned to NRO, manages the associated service resources, and serves as senior advisor to the Director on all military matters.

General Povak received his commission from Clarkson University in 1992. Throughout his career, he gained extensive hands-on satellite operations, engineering and acquisitions experience working with Air Force Space Command and in several positions with the NRO. General Povak has commanded space operations units at the squadron, group, and wing levels. He has also served on the Headquarters Air Force Staff gaining broad insight into defense policy and the Department of Defense’s requirements, programming and budgeting processes. General Povak was also selected for a congressional fellowship and served as a military legislative advisor to United States Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut.

Prior to his current assignment, General Povak was the Deputy Director, Space Warfighting Analysis Center, Washington D.C.
 
EDUCATION
1992 Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering, Clarkson University, Potsdam, N.Y.
1997 Undergraduate Space and Missile Training, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
1998 Master of Science, Electrical Engineering, Colorado Technical University, Colo.
1999 Squadron Officer School, Distinguished Graduate, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2003 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2005 Master of Art in Military Operational Art and Science, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2005 Air Command and Staff College, Distinguished Graduate, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2007 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2011 Senior Executive Fellowship, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
2012 National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington D.C.
2012 Masters of Science in National Security Strategy, National War College, National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington D.C.
 
ASSIGNMENTS
1.  March 1993 – July 1996, Air Force Satellite Control Network Capacity Engineer, 50th Space Wing Plans, Schriever Air Force Base, Colo.
2.  August 1996 – August 1997, Flight Commander, Operating Division 4/DC, Onizuka Air Force Station, Calif.
3.  September 1997 – May 2000, Chief, Space Systems Engineering, Operating Division 4/DC, Onizuka AFS, Calif.
4.  June 2000 – May 2002, Director of Operations, Air Force Operations Element, Washington D.C.
5.  June 2002 – August 2003, Director of Engineering, Air Force Operations Element, Washington D.C.
6.  September 2003 – July 2004, Congressional Fellow, Office of Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, Washington D.C.
7.  August 2004 – June 2005, Student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
8.  June 2005 – July 2006, Chief, Space Programs Planning, Programming, and Budgeting, Directorate of Space Acquisition, Headquarters United States Air Force, Pentagon, Va.
9.  August 2006 – July 2007, Chief, Congressional and Media Affairs Branch, Directorate of Space Acquisition, Headquarters United States Air Force, Pentagon, Va.
10.  August 2007 – June 2008, Program Element Monitor, Transformational Satellite Communications, Directorate of Space Acquisition, Headquarters United States Air Force, Pentagon, Va.
11.  July 2008 – June 2010, Commander, Operations Division 7 and Deputy Chief Overhead Collection Management Center, Fort George Meade, Md.
12.  July 2010 – July 2011, Executive Officer to the Deputy Director, National Reconnaissance Office, Chantilly, Va.
13.  August 2011 – June 2012, Student, National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington D. C.
14.  July 2012 – July 2015, Commander, Air Force Element, RAF Menwith Hill, United Kingdom
15.  August 2015 - May 2016, Deputy Director, Mission Operations Directorate, National Reconnaissance Office, Chantilly, Va.
16.  June 2016 – August 2019, Commander, Aerospace Data Facility Colorado, Buckley AFB, Colo.
17.  June 2016 – August 2019, Commander, Air Force Element Space Operations Wing, Buckley AFB, Colo.        (December 2018 – June 2019, Acting Commander, Air Force Element, NRO, Chantilly, Va.)
18. September 2019 – July 2021, Deputy Commander, Joint Task Force Space Defense, Schriever AFB, Colo
19. July 2021 – September 2022, Deputy Director, Space Warfighting Analysis Center, Washington D.C.
20. September 2022- present, Deputy Director and Space Force Element Commander, National Reconnaissance Office, Chantilly, Va.
 
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Superior Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Defense Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Meritorious Service Medal
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal
Joint Service Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
 
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant May 15, 1992                 
First Lieutenant Oct. 15, 1994                  
Captain Oct. 15, 1996                               
Major April 1, 2003                                        
Lieutenant Colonel Dec. 1, 2006                   
Colonel May 1, 2012                                 
Brigadier General March 2, 2019
 
(Current as of September 2022)