Brig. Gen. D. Jason Cothern serves as the Vice Commander, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California. He is responsible for assisting the Commander in managing the research, design, development, acquisition, and sustainment of space and missile systems, command and control, launch and operational satellite systems. The Space and Missile Systems Center is the nation’s center of technical expertise for military space acquisition with approximately 6,000 employees nationwide and an annual budget of $9 billion.
Brig. Gen. Cothern was commissioned in 1993 as an ROTC graduate of the University of Central Florida. His career has spanned a range of assignments primarily acquiring or planning for a variety of space systems, running the gamut from communications, signals intelligence, missile warning and force application. His space systems experience includes all major segments: ground, space vehicle, payloads and launch vehicles. He commanded the Space Based Infrared Systems Ground Squadron, Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, where he led his unit during development, test and fielding of the ground control system for the first SBIRS geosynchronous satellite. Brig. Gen. Cothern’s joint assignment was in the U.S. Strategic Command’s Center for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction Chief of Requirements Integration Department.
Prior to his current assignment, the general served as the Assistant Program Director for Development at the F-35 Lighting II Joint Program Office, Arlington, Virginia. He led all aspects of fifth generation fighter modernization activities focused on delivering three F-35 variants to the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, eight international partners and three foreign military sales nations, ultimately producing 3,170 aircraft and supporting air system elements utilizing over $250 billion in U.S. funds. He directed a 1,194-person joint and multinational team, building and executing acquisition strategies for continued modernization and delivery of the F-35.
1993 Bachelor of Science, Aerospace Engineering, University of Central Florida, Orlando
1998 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2000 Master of Business Administration, California State University, Long Beach
2002 Master of Science, Organizational Leadership, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
2006 Master of Military Operational Arts and Science, Air Command and Staff College, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2009 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2009 The Program Manager’s Course, Defense Acquisition University, Fort Belvoir, Va.
2012 Master of National Resource Strategy, The Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
1. September 1993–August 1995, Program Manager, 50th Logistics Support Squadron, Schreiver Air Force Base, Colo.
2. August 1995–July 1996, Executive Officer, 50th Logistics Group, Schreiver AFB, Colo.
3. July 1996–March 1998, Program Manager, Milstar Operations Support Division, Military Satellite Communications Joint Program Office, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB, Calif.
4. March 1998–July 2000, Chief, Military Satellite Communications Programs Planning Branch, Military Satellite Communications Joint Program Office, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB, Calif.
5. July 2000–June 2002, Student, United States Air Force Intern Program, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
6. June 2002–July 2005, Chief, Satellite Command and Control Branch, then Program Manager, Missile Warning Systems, Space Systems Program Office, Signals Intelligence Directorate, National Reconnaissance Office, Chantilly, Va.
7. July 2005–June 2006, Student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
8. June 2006–June 2008, Deputy Chief, Future Systems Division, Developmental Planning Directorate, Space and Missiles System Center, Los Angeles AFB, Calif.
9. June 2008–July 2009, Chief, Space Systems Acquisition Division, Transformational Satellite Communications System Space Group, MILSATCOM Systems Wing, Space and Missiles System Center, Los Angeles AFB, Calif.
10. July 2009–August 2011, Commander, Space Based Infrared Systems Ground Squadron, then Materiel Leader, SBIRS Ground Systems Branch, SBIRS Ground Division, Infrared Space Systems Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB, Calif.
11. August 2011–June 2012, Student, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
12. June 2012–July 2014, Chief, Requirements Integration Department, Defense Threat Reduction Agency and U.S. Strategic Command, Center for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction, Fort Belvoir, Va.
13. July 2014–June 2017, Senior Material Leader - Lower, Director, DoD Space Test Program and Chief, Space Demonstrations Division, Advanced Systems and Development Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
14. June 2017–June 2020, Senior Material Leader - Upper, Assistant Program Director for Development and Production, then Assistant Program Director for Development, F-35 Joint Program Office, Arlington, Va.
15. June 2020–present, Vice Commander, Space and Missile Systems Center, U.S. Space Force, Los Angeles AFB, Calif.
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. June 2012–July 2014, Chief, Requirements Integration Department, Defense Threat Reduction Agency and U.S. Strategic Command’s Center for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction, Fort Belvoir, Va., as a lieutenant colonel and colonel
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Defense Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal
Joint Meritorious Unit Award with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with three oak leaf clusters
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant July 22, 1993
First Lieutenant July 22, 1995
Captain July 22, 1997
Major Dec. 1, 2003
Lieutenant Colonel June 1, 2008
Colonel Oct. 1, 2013
Brigadier General July 3, 2019
(Current as of June 2020)