Dr. Thomas P. Ehrhard is the Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. As the senior civilian assistant to Chief of Staff, Dr. Ehrhard provides private counsel to senior Air Staff leaders on strategy and policy, serves as the principal adviser to the Chief of Staff's Strategic Studies Group, and provides a key interface with the defense policy community.
Prior to his appointment as the Special Assistant, Dr. Ehrhard was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, an independent, non-profit defense policy research institute. His areas of interest include defense strategy, East and Central Asian security, aerospace force structure, joint planning and operational concepts, interagency integration, military innovation, and the incorporation of disruptive military technologies.
Before retiring as a colonel in the Air Force in 2006, Dr. Ehrhard served as the military assistant to Andrew W. Marshall, the Secretary of Defense's Director of Net Assessment. He also worked in various Air Staff and OSD strategy positions in the Pentagon, and was Chief of the Central Command Air Forces Strategy Division during the opening phases of Operation Enduring Freedom. He is a graduate of the Air Force's School of Advanced Airpower Studies, and later served as Professor of Strategy and Policy. He earned a Ph.D. in international relations from Johns Hopkins University. In his more than 30 years of government service, he received numerous awards, commendations and medals, to include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Defense Superior Service Medal.
1980 Distinguished graduate, Bachelor of Science degree, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
1987 Master's degree in national security studies, California State University
1995 Master of Airpower Art and Science degree, School of Advanced Airpower Studies, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2001 Doctor of Philosophy degree in international relations, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins University, Washington, D.C.
1. 1999 - 2001, Chief, Strategy, Concepts and Doctrine Division ("Skunk Works"), the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
2. 2001 - 2002, Chief, Special Programs and Outreach, Air Force Quadrennial Defense Review, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
3. 2001 - 2002, Chief, Strategy Division, Combined Air Operations Center, Southwest Asia
4. 2002 - 2004, Professor of Strategy and Policy, School of Air and Space Studies, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
5. 2004 - 2006, military assistant to the Director, Net Assessment, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C.
6. 2006 - 2009, Senior Fellow, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Washington, D.C.
7. 2009 - present, Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
(Current as of October 2009)