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Lieutenant General David A. Deptula (Ret.) is a highly decorated military leader who transitioned from the U.S. Air Force (USAF) in 2010 after more than 34 years of distinguished service. He is a world-recognized leader and pioneer in conceptualizing, planning, and executing national security operations from humanitarian relief to major combat operations. Accomplished historic achievements and several “firsts” in the command of joint forces, planning and execution of aerospace power, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), and improved international relationships. He has taken part in operations, planning, and joint warfighting at unit, major command, service headquarters and combatant command levels, and also served on two congressional commissions charged with outlining America's future defense posture.
General Deptula has significant experience in combat and leadership in several major joint contingency operations. He was the principal attack planner for the Desert Storm coalition air campaign in 1991. He has twice been a Combined/Joint Task Force Commander; in 1998/1999 for Operation Northern Watch where he flew 82 combat missions as a general officer; and for Operation Deep Freeze conducting operations in Antarctica. In 2001, he served as Director of the Combined Air Operations Center for Operation Enduring Freedom where he orchestrated air operations over Afghanistan during the period of decisive combat. In 2005, he was the Joint Force Air Component Commander (JFACC) for Operation Unified Assistance, the South Asia tsunami relief effort, and in 2006 he was the standing JFACC for Pacific Command. He has piloted more than 3,000 flying hours (400 in combat) to include multiple operational fighter command assignments in the F-15.
Deptula was the first Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Headquarters Air Force. Responsible for policy formulation, planning, and leadership of AF ISR and remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), he transformed those enterprises setting a standard emulated by services and nations around the world. In 2009 he was awarded the Aviation Week & Space Technology Aerospace Laureate Award for extraordinary accomplishment in national defense, and in 2010 he was presented with the General H.H. Award, the AF Association's highest honor to a military member in the field of national security.
Formerly a CEO of a high-technology company, he currently is a senior scholar at the Center for Character and Leadership Development at the US Air Force Academy; participates on a variety of public, private, and think-tank Boards; and is a sought-after speaker around the world.
Born in Dayton, Ohio, General Deptula earned his B.A. with distinction in astronomy at the University of Virginia where he was commissioned as an Air Force officer in 1974 as a distinguished graduate from Air Force ROTC. He remained at the University of Virginia to complete a master's degree in systems engineering. He also earned a master’s degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons School, Air Command and Staff College, and the Armed Forces Staff College.