Brigadier General Robert O. Petty is director, Defense Communications System Organization, Defense Communications Agency, Washington, D.C. He is responsible for planning, programming and managing the Defense Communications System, the worldwide network of long distance point-to-point and switched communications for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and other government agencies. The system includes circuitry routed by microwave radio, wire, fiber optic line, cable and satellite. More than 3,000 sites are located in 75 countries and islands, and almost 2,000 of these sites are overseas. As the critical element of the worldwide military command and control system, the Defense Communications System provides the communications needed to satisfy the requirements of the National Command Authorities, Joint Chiefs of Staff, unified and specified commands, military services and Defense agencies.
General Petty was born in 1933, in Graham, Texas, where he graduated from high school in 1949. He earned a bachelor of science degree in range and forestry Management from Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1953 and received his commission through the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program. In 1964 he obtained a master of science degree in business administration from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. General Petty completed Squadron Officer School, and both the Air Command and Staff College and Air War College as a distinguished graduate. All schools are located at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

After entering the U.S. Air Force in December 1953, he attended the Ground Electronics Officer's Course at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. He was assigned as a communications-electronics installation project officer with the 5th Airways and Air Communications Service Installations and Maintenance Squadron, from September 1954 to May 1956, at Fuchu Air Station, Japan. General Petty served as a maintenance and supply officer for the 2046th Airways and Air Communications Service Squadron at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, until January 1960, when he was assigned as chief of maintenance for the 1983rd Airways and Air Communications Service Squadron at Thule Air Base, Greenland.

From February 1961 to June 1963, General Petty was logistics plans officer and later chief of the Navigational Aids Maintenance Branch in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics at Air Force Communications Service headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

Following graduation from the Air Command and Staff College in August 1964, he commanded the 2176th Communications Squadron at Prestwick Airfield, Scotland. In September 1966 he returned to the United States and was assigned as a systems control officer and then as chief of operations of the Defense Communications Agency Operations Center, Washington, D.C. The general become director of communications for the Studies and Observations Group, Military Assistance Command Vietnam, Saigon, from October 1970 to October 1971.

Upon returning from Southeast Asia, General Petty served at Norton Air Force Base, Calif., in the inspector general's office. Following graduation from the Air War College in June 1974, he became commander of the 2130th Communications Group at Royal Air Force Station Croughton, England. From there he served as vice commander of the European Communications Area, Kapaun Air Station, Germany, until June 1977.

General Petty then returned to the United States and was assigned as assistant deputy director for plans, and later as assistant deputy director for plans and programs at Defense Communications Agency headquarters. From October 1979 to June 1981, the general served at Headquarters Air Force Communications Command at Scott Air Force Base as deputy chief of staff for plans and programs, and in April 1980 became the command's chief of staff. General Petty then became commander of Air Force Communications Command's Continental Communications Division at Griffiss Air Force Base, N.Y. He assumed his present duties in July 1982.

His military decorations and awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon and Vietnam Staff Service Medal 1st Class.

He was promoted to brigadier general July 1, 1981, with date of rank June 13, 1981.

(Current as of March 2021)