General David Thompson, Chief of Space Operations, U.S. Space Force

General David Thompson

Chief of Space Operations, U.S. Space Force

David Dean “DT” Thompson was born in February 1963 in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. He earned an undergraduate degree in astronautical engineering from the United States Air Force Academy. He received a graduate Master of Science from Purdue University. He is also an Olmsted Scholar and has received other education through the U.S. military. 

After his commission, he was assigned to the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base, California. He was an instructor in the Air Force Department of Aeronautics and later served at Space and Missile Systems Center as program manager. He served as the Air Force Space Command’s commander, a position that was renamed as AFSPEC deputy commander.  

He was assigned to the United States Space Force in December 2019. He was nominated for appointment to the rank of general and assigned as the first Chief of Space Operations. He was confirmed by the Senate and assumed his rank in September 2020. 

In the News…

U.S. Space Force General David Thompson, the service’s second in command, said that Russia and China are launching “reversible attacks,” such as electronic warfare jamming, temporarily blinding optics with lasers, and cyber-attacks, on U.S. satellites “every single day.”  

He revealed that a small Russian satellite used to conduct an on-orbit anti-satellite weapons test two years ago had first gotten so close to an American one that there were concerns that an actual attack was imminent.  

Only days before his interview, a Russian anti-satellite weapon test involved a ground-launched interceptor, which destroyed a defunct Soviet-era electronic intelligence satellite and created a cloud of debris that continues to present a risk to the International Space Station. 

“The threats are really growing and expanding every single day. And it’s really an evolution of activity that’s been happening for a long time,” General Thompson said. “We’re really at a point now where there’s a  whole host of ways that our space systems can be threatened.” 

The general’s assertion that these attacks are occurring with extreme frequency is new. It underscores the rapid development and fielding by Russia and China, among others, of a wide variety of anti-satellite capabilities, something the U.S. military has called increasing attention to. 


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