Lieutenant General David Deptula (USAF, Retired)

By Robbin Laird

Lieutenant General David A. Deptula (Ret.) is a battle-tested defense innovator.

Currently, Deptula is the Dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

A highly decorated military leader, he 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.

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.

He has piloted more than 3,000 flying hours (400 in combat) to include multiple operational fighter command assignments in the F-15.