Lt. Gen. Robert J. Elder is Commander, 8th Air Force, Air Combat Command, Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and Joint Functional Component Commander for Space and Global Strike, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt AFB, Neb. General Elder also commands Task Force 204 which was activated in November 2007 to oversee Air Force nuclear bomber, surveillance, and reconnaissance activities in support of USSTRATCOM. "The Mighty Eighth" serves as the air component headquarters to USSTRATCOM for strategic deterrence and global strike, and operates USSTRATCOM's Joint Air Operations Center. The Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike plans and executes strategic deterrence and global strike operations for USSTRATCOM. General Elder commands nine wings and one direct reporting unit with 270 aircraft and 41,000 active duty, Air National Guard and Reserve professionals providing long-range global strike, battle management, surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic combat and expeditionary heavy construction capabilities to theater combatant commanders worldwide.
General Elder served as the first commander of Air Force Network Operations and led the development of the cyberspace mission for the Air Force. His staff experience includes senior leadership positions with the Joint Staff, Air Staff, Air Combat Command and NATO. He has commanded at all levels, led unit deployments to Southwest Asia, Europe and the Pacific, and held senior command positions in operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. He has also served as Program Manager for the F-15 Avionics Integration Support Facility. Prior to his current assignment, he was Commandant of the Air War College and Vice Commander of Air University.
General Elder is a command pilot with more than 4,300 flying hours, including 83 combat hours. He holds a doctorate in engineering from the University of Detroit.
1975 Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, University of Detroit, Mich.
1975 Master's degree in engineering, University of Detroit, Mich.
1979 Squadron Officer School, by correspondence
1985 Doctor of Engineering degree, University of Detroit, Mich.
1987 Distinguished graduate, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
1989 Air War College, by seminar
1991 National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
1997 Senior Executive Program, Columbia University Graduate School of Business, New York, N.Y.
2001 Senior Executive Course, George C. Marshall College of International and Security Studies, Garmisch, Germany
2002 Combined Force Air Component Commander Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2005 Joint Flag Officer Warfighting Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2005 Systems Acquisition Management for General/Flag Officers, Fort Belvoir, Va.
2006 Pinnacle Course, National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
2008 Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century, Executive Leadership Course, Walt Disney Corporation, Orlando, Fla.
1. May 1976 - May 1977, student, undergraduate pilot training, Reese AFB, Texas
2. May 1977 - November 1977, student, B-52G combat crew training, Castle AFB, Calif.
3. November 1977 - December 1980, B-52G co-pilot, 28th Bombardment Squadron, Robins AFB, Ga.
4. December 1980 - October 1982, Program Manager, F-15 Avionics Integration Support Facility, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Robins AFB, Ga.
5. October 1982 - April 1983, Global Positioning System Program officer, Air Staff Training Program, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
6. April 1983 - September 1983, Requirements Program officer, Air Staff Training Program, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
7. September 1983 - April 1984, student, B-52G combat crew training, Castle AFB, Calif.
8. April 1984 - August 1985, B-52G flight commander, later, instructor pilot, 69th Bombardment Squadron, Loring AFB, Maine
9. August 1985 - August 1986, Chief, B-52 Standardization and Evaluation Branch, later, Chief, 42nd Bombardment Wing, Standardization and Evaluation Division, Loring AFB, Maine
10. August 1986 - June 1987, student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
11. June 1987 - September 1988, executive officer to the Commander, Headquarters 8th Air Force, Barksdale AFB, La.
12. September 1988 - July 1990, Commander, 596th Bombardment Squadron, Barksdale AFB, La.
13. July 1990 - June 1991, student, National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
14. June 1991 - July 1993, Chief, Strategic and Space Forces Branch, later, Chief, Forces Division, Directorate for Force Structure, Resources and Assessment, the Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.
15. July 1993 - December 1994, Commander, 5th Operations Group, Minot AFB, N.D.
16. December 1994 - August 1996, Director, Chief of Staff Operations Group, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
17. August 1996 - July 1998, Commander, 5th Bomb Wing, Minot AFB, N.D.
18. July 1998 - April 2000, Assistant Director of Aerospace Operations, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Langley AFB, Va.
19. April 2000 - September 2001, Deputy Director, NATO Reaction Force Air Staff, Allied Command Europe, Kalkar, Germany
20. October 2001 - June 2003, Vice Commander, 9th Air Force, and Deputy Commander, U.S. Central Command Air Forces, Shaw AFB, S.C.
21. June 2003 - July 2004, Commander, CENTAF-Forward Combined Air Headquarters; Deputy Commander, 9th Aerospace Expeditionary Task Force; and Deputy Combined Forces Air Component Commander, USCENTCOM, Southwest Asia
22. July 2004 - June 2006, Commandant, Air War College, and Vice Commander, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
23. June 2006 - present, Commander, 8th Air Force, Air Combat Command, Barksdale AFB, La., and Joint Functional Component Commander for Space and Global Strike, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt AFB, Neb.
Rating: Command pilot
Flight hours: More than 4,300
Aircraft flown: B-52, B-2, U-2, F-16, F-15E, KC-10 and KC-135
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Defense Superior Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
Bronze Star Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Achievement Medal
2008 Honorary Doctor of Science degree, Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport
"Non-Invasive Assessment of Pilot Workload with Flight Computer Generated Primary Measures," doctoral dissertation, University Microfilm International, 1985
"A Strategic Approach to Advanced Technology Trade with the Soviet Union," Comparative Strategy, January-March 1992
"Effects-Based Operations: A Command Philosophy," Air and Space Power Journal, Air University Press, Spring 2007
"Global and Theater Operations Integration," Joint Force Quarterly, Issue 46, NDU Press, 3rd Quarter 2007
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant May 10, 1975
First Lieutenant Dec. 4, 1977
Captain Dec. 1, 1979
Major Aug. 1, 1984
Lieutenant Colonel July 1, 1988
Colonel Jan. 1, 1992
Brigadier General Jan. 1, 2000
Major General Oct. 1, 2003
Lieutenant General June 13, 2006
(Current as of June 2009)