David D. Thompson


David D. Thompson
Gen David D. Thompson (2).jpg
Official portrait, 2021
Born (1963-02-18) February 18, 1963 (age 58)
Ambridge, Pennsylvania, U.S.
AllegianceUnited States
BranchUnited States Air Force (1985–2020)
United States Space Force (2020–present)
Years of service1985–present
Commands heldVice Chief of Space Operations
Aerospace Data Facility-Colorado
45th Operations Group
2nd Space Launch Squadron
AwardsAir Force Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal

David Dean "DT" Thompson[1] (born February 18, 1963)[2] is a United States Space Force general currently serving as the service's first vice chief of space operations. He previously served the vice commander of the United States Space Force, a position he retained from the Air Force Space Command when it was established as a separate service branch, from April 2, 2018 to September 30, 2020.[3][4][5][6] He assumed his current assignment on October 2, 2020.[7]

Early life and education

USAFA yearbook photo of Thompson

Born and raised in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, Thompson graduated in Ambridge Area High School in 1981.[8] He got his Bachelor of Science, majoring in astronautical engineering, from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado and graduated in 1985. In 1989, he received his graduate degree of Master of Science in aeronautics and astronautics from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He is also an Olmsted Scholar, graduate of the Senior Acquisition Course and a Level III-Certified Program Manager.[9]

Military career

General Raymond promoting Thompson to general of the U.S. Space Force, October 1.

Thompson received his commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force from the United States Air Force Academy in 1985. He is a career space officer with assignments in operations, research and development, acquisition, and academia.[10] He has commanded operational space units at the squadron, group, and wing levels.

A month after his commission, he was assigned in July 1985 at the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory at the Edwards Air Force Base, California. For three years after getting his graduate degree, he was an instructor on astronautics in the U.S. Air Force Academy, assigned as the executive officer of the Department of Astronautics of the academy. From 1995 to 1998, he served at Space and Missile Systems Center as program manager.

From July 2015 to July 2017, he served as the Air Force Space Command's then-two-star vice commander. That position was then renamed as AFSPC deputy commander in 2017 with Thomson serving as the special assistant to the AFSPC commander. In 2018, the AFSPC planned to revive the vice commander position, turning it into a position for a three-star general after Congress nixed plans on creating a deputy chief of staff for space operations position.[11] On April 4, 2018, he then assumed the retook his previous position as AFSPC vice commander, promoting him to a lieutenant general.[12]

With the redesignation of the AFSPC as the newly created United States Space Force on December 20, 2019, Thompson retained his position as vice commander of the Space Force. In August 2020, he was nominated for transfer to the Space Force at his current rank of lieutenant general.[13] He was also nominated for appointment to the rank of general[14] and assignment as the first vice chief of space operations.[15] He was confirmed by the Senate on September 30, 2020,[14] and assumed rank following day.[16] Thompson assumed office on October 2.[7]

Awards and decorations

USAF Command Space Badge.png Command Space Operations Badge
United States Air Force Parachutist Badge.svg
Basic Parachutist Badge
Master Acquisition and Financial Management Badge.jpg
Air Force Master Acquisition and Financial Management Badge[17]
United States Air Force Missile Badge.svg
Basic Missile Maintenance Badge
Space Staff Identification Badge.png
Space Staff Badge
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal[18]
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Width-44 crimson ribbon with a pair of width-2 white stripes on the edges Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Width-44 crimson ribbon with two width-8 white stripes at distance 4 from the edges.Bronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg Air Force Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Meritorious Unit Award
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with oak leaf cluster
USA NRO Distinguished Service ribbon.png National Reconnaissance Office Distinguished Service Medal (Gold Medal)
Bronze star
Width=44 scarlet ribbon with a central width-4 golden yellow stripe, flanked by pairs of width-1 scarlet, white, Old Glory blue, and white stripes
National Defense Service Medal with one bronze service star
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Air Force Overseas Long Tour Service Ribbon
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgSilver oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg Air Force Longevity Service Award with one silver and three bronze oak leaf clusters
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
Air Force Training Ribbon

Dates of promotion

Rank Date[3]
US Air Force O1 shoulderboard rotated.svg Second lieutenant May 29, 1985
US Air Force O2 shoulderboard rotated.svg First lieutenant May 29, 1987
US Air Force O3 shoulderboard rotated.svg Captain May 29, 1989
US Air Force O4 shoulderboard rotated.svg Major August 1, 1996
US Air Force O5 shoulderboard rotated.svg Lieutenant colonel May 1, 2000
US Air Force O6 shoulderboard rotated.svg Colonel August 1, 2004
US Air Force O7 shoulderboard rotated.svg Brigadier general June 18, 2010
US Air Force O8 shoulderboard rotated.svg Major general October 10, 2013
US Air Force O9 shoulderboard rotated.svg Lieutenant general April 4, 2018
US Air Force O10 shoulderboard rotated.svg General October 1, 2020


  • With Gregory Gagnon and Christopher W. McLeod (Summer 2018). "Space as a War-fighting Domain" (PDF). Air and Space Power Journal. 32 (2): 4–8.


  1. ^ Polaris (PDF). XXVII. Colorado Springs, Colorado: United States Air Force Academy. 1985. p. 84. Retrieved February 21, 2019.Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ https://sortedbybirthdate.com/small_pages/1963/19630218_1005.html
  3. ^ a b "General David D. Thompson". United States Air Force. October 2020. Retrieved March 5, 2021.Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ Pope, Charles (January 5, 2020). "Officials provide details on building the Space Force, its structure, and operating imperatives". US Space Force. Washington DC. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  5. ^ Erwin, Sanra (August 8, 2020). "With Thompson's nomination, U.S. Space Force leadership takes shape". SpaceNews. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  6. ^ "General Officer Announcement". United States Department of Defense. August 7, 2020. Retrieved August 15, 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  7. ^ a b Kirby, Lynn (October 4, 2020). "First-ever Vice CSO joins U.S. Space Force". SpaceForce.mil. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
  8. ^ Prose, J.D. (June 15, 2019). "Air Force Lt. Gen. David Thompson, an Ambridge native, tours RMU simulation center". Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  9. ^ https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA398851.pdf
  10. ^ Schurr, Marjorie A. (June 18, 2019). "Steel foundation: Locally-born general comes home to tell AF story". Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  11. ^ Erwin, Sandra (January 17, 2018). "Air Force to create three-star 'vice commander' post to manage space activities". SpaceNews. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  12. ^ "Air Force establishes Pentagon-based AFSPC vice commander position". af.mil. Retrieved May 22, 2020.Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  13. ^ "PN2164 — Lt. Gen. David D. Thompson — Space Force". congress.gov. August 6, 2020. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  14. ^ a b "PN2163 — Lt. Gen. David D. Thompson — Space Force". congress.gov. August 6, 2020. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  15. ^ "General Officer Announcement". defense.gov. August 7, 2020. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  16. ^ "General David D. Thompson Bio". SpaceForce.mil.
  17. ^ https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/108580/lieutenant-general-david-d-thompson/
  18. ^ https://www.spaceforce.mil/News/Article/2741396/ussf-university-of-colorado-announce-partnership/

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Commander of the Aerospace Data Facility-Colorado
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Vice Commander of the Air Force Warfare Center
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Director of Air, Space and Cyberspace Operations of the Air Force Space Command
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Director for Plans and Policy of the United States Strategic Command
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Vice Commander of the Air Force Space Command
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Bruce H. McClintock
Special Assistant to the Commander of the Air Force Space Command
Succeeded by
New office Vice Commander of the Air Force Space Command, later United States Space Force
Position renamed
New office Vice Chief of Space Operations