David D. Thompson

David Dean "DT" Thompson (born c. 1963) 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 establish as a separate service branch, from April 2, 2018 to September 30, 2020.[2][3][4][5] He assumed his current assignment on October 2, 2020.[6]

David D. Thompson
Gen David D. Thompson.jpg
Official portrait, 2020
Birth nameDavid Dean Thompson[1]
Born1963 (age 57–58)
Ambridge, Pennsylvania, U.S.
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Air Force (1985–2020)
United States Space Force (2020–present)
Years of service1985–present (35 years)
RankUS Air Force O10 shoulderboard rotated.svg General
Commands heldVice Chief of Space Operations
Aerospace Data Facility-Colorado
45th Operations Group
AwardsDefense Superior Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal

Early life and educationEdit

USAFA yearbook photo of Thompson

Born and raised in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, Thompson graduated in Ambridge Area High School in 1981.[7] 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.

Military careerEdit

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.[8] 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.[9] On April 4, 2018, he then assumed the retook his previous position as AFSPC vice commander, promoting him to a lieutenant general.[10]

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.[11] He was also nominated for appointment to the rank of general[12] and assignment as the first vice chief of space operations.[13] He was confirmed by the Senate on September 30, 2020,[12] and assumed rank following day.[14] Thompson assumed office on October 2.[6]

Awards and decorationsEdit

  Command Space Operations Badge
Basic Parachutist Badge
Air Force Master Acquisition and Financial Management Badge[15]
Basic Missile Maintenance Badge
Space Staff Badge
Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
  Legion of Merit
  Bronze Star Medal
  Defense Meritorious Service Medal
    Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
  Air Force Commendation Medal
    Air Force Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters
  Air Force Meritorious Unit Award
    Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters
    Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with two oak leaf clusters
  National Reconnaissance Office Distinguished Service Medal (Gold Medal)
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
     Air Force Longevity Service Award with one silver and two bronze oak leaf clusters
  Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
  Air Force Training Ribbon

Effective dates of promotionEdit

Rank Date
  Second lieutenant May 29, 1985
  First lieutenant May 29, 1987
  Captain May 29, 1989
  Major August 1, 1996
  Lieutenant colonel May 1, 2000
  Colonel August 1, 2004
  Brigadier general June 18, 2010
  Major general October 10, 2013
  Lieutenant general April 4, 2018
  General October 1, 2020


  1. ^ Polaris (PDF). XXVII. Colorado Springs, Colorado: United States Air Force Academy. 1985. p. 84. Retrieved February 21, 2019.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ "Lieutenant General David D. Thompson". www.af.mil. February 2020. Retrieved May 22, 2020.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Erwin, Sanra (August 8, 2020). "With Thompson's nomination, U.S. Space Force leadership takes shape". SpaceNews. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  5. ^ "General Officer Announcement". United States Department of Defense. August 7, 2020. Retrieved August 15, 2020.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  6. ^ a b Kirby, Lynn (October 4, 2020). "First-ever Vice CSO joins U.S. Space Force". SpaceForce.mil. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
  7. ^ Prose, J.D. (June 15, 2019). "Air Force Lt. Gen. David Thompson, an Ambridge native, tours RMU simulation center". Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  8. ^ Schurr, Marjorie A. (June 18, 2019). "Steel foundation: Locally-born general comes home to tell AF story". Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  9. ^ Erwin, Sandra (January 17, 2018). "Air Force to create three-star 'vice commander' post to manage space activities". SpaceNews. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  10. ^ "Air Force establishes Pentagon-based AFSPC vice commander position". af.mil. Retrieved May 22, 2020.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  11. ^ "PN2164 — Lt. Gen. David D. Thompson — Space Force". congress.gov. August 6, 2020. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  12. ^ a b "PN2163 — Lt. Gen. David D. Thompson — Space Force". congress.gov. August 6, 2020. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  13. ^ "General Officer Announcement". defense.gov. August 7, 2020. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  14. ^ "General David D. Thompson Bio". SpaceForce.mil.
  15. ^ https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/108580/lieutenant-general-david-d-thompson/

External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by
Commander of the Aerospace Data Facility-Colorado
Succeeded by
Stephen T. Denker
Preceded by
Tod D. Wolters
Director of Air, Space and Cyberspace Operations of the Air Force Space Command
Succeeded by
Jack Weinstein
Preceded by
John W. Raymond
Director for Plans and Policy of the United States Strategic Command
Succeeded by
Clinton E. Crosier
Preceded by
David J. Buck
Vice Commander of the Air Force Space Command
Succeeded by
Robert J. Skinner
Preceded by
Bruce H. McClintock
Special Assistant to the Commander, 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