Lt. Gen. Anthony Cotton is Commander and President, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. He provides full-spectrum education, research and outreach at every level through professional military education, professional continuing education and academic degree granting. He leads the intellectual and leadership center of the U.S. Air Force, graduating more than 50,000 resident and 120,000 non-resident officers, enlisted and civilian personnel each year. Additionally, he is responsible for officer commissioning through Officer Training School and the Reserve Officer Training Corps.
General Cotton entered the Air Force through the ROTC program in 1986 where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. He has commanded at the squadron, group and wing levels. He served as Deputy Director of the Secretary and Chief of Staff to the Air Force Executive Action Group, as Senior Military Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Deputy Director of the National Reconnaissance Office. He was also the Vice Commander and Commander of the 341st Missile Wing, Malmstrom AFB, Montana, and the Commander of the 45th Space Wing and Director of the Eastern Range, Patrick AFB, Florida.
Prior to his current assignment, General Cotton served as the Commander, Twentieth Air Force, Air Force Global Strike Command, Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming.
1986 Bachelor of Science, Political Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh
1991 Master of Science, Administration, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant
1992 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2001 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2005 U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pa.
2006 Enterprise Leadership Seminar, Kenan-Flagler School of Business, University of North Carolina, Chapel
2007 Phase II PME, Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va.
2009 Senior Managers Course on National Security, National Security Studies Program, George Washington
University, Washington, D.C.
2012 Capstone General and Flag Officer Course in Joint and Combined Studies, National Defense
University, Washington, D.C.
2014 AFSO 21 Executive Leadership Course, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
2017 Leadership Decision Making, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
2018 The Harvard Seminar for New Presidents, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, Mass.
2018 Leadership at the Peak, Center for Creative Leadership, Colorado Springs, Colo.
1. October 1986 - July 1991, Missile Combat Crew Commander; Standardization/Evaluation Missile Combat
Crew Commander; Chief, Standardization/Evaluation Operations/Procedures Branch and Wing Executive
Officer, 91st Missile Wing, Minot Air Force Base, N.D.
2. July 1991 - April 1994, Command Operations Evaluator 3901st Missile Evaluation Squadron and Chief of
Protocol, 20th Air Force, Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
3. April 1994 - April 1997, Space Surveillance Crew Commander, Flight Commander, Cheyenne Mountain
Air Force Station, Colo.
4. April 1997 - January 1999, Chief, Space Surveillance Optical Section; Space Surveillance Program
Element Monitor; and Executive Officer to the Director of Operations, Headquarters Air Force Space
Command, Peterson AFB, Colo.
5. January 1999 - June 2000, Executive Officer to the Commander, 14th Air Force, Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
6. June 2000 - June 2001, Student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
7. June 2001 - March 2004, Operations Officer, 45th Range Squadron; Commander, 3rd Space Launch
Squadron; and Deputy Commander, 45th Operations Group, Patrick AFB, Fla.
8. March 2004 - June 2005, Student, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pa.
9. June 2005 - March 2008, Deputy Director, Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Executive Action
Group; Director, Preparation and Planning; and Senior Military Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense
for Intelligence, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
10. April 2008 - July 2009, Commander, Space Operations Group, Aerospace Data Facility-East, Fort
11. July 2009 - May 2010, Vice Commander, 341st Missile Wing, Malmstrom AFB, Mont.
12. May 2010 - August 2011, Commander, 341st Missile Wing, Malmstrom AFB, Mont.
13. August 2011 - June 2013, Commander, 45th Space Wing, and Director, Eastern Range, Patrick AFB,
14. June 2013 - November 2015, Deputy Director, National Reconnaissance Office, Chantilly, Va.
15. November 2015 - January 2018, Commander, 20th Air Force, Air Force Global Strike Command,
Francis E. Warren AFB, Wyo.
16. February 2018 - present, Commander and President, Air University, Air Education and Training
Command, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. March 2006 - June 2007, Director, Preparation and Planning; and Senior Military Assistant to the Under
Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., as a colonel
2. June 2007 - April 2008, Senior Military Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, the
Pentagon, Arlington, Va., as a colonel
3. April 2008 - July 2009, Commander, Space Operations Group, Aerospace Data Facility-East, Fort Belvoir,
Va. (National Reconnaissance Office), as a colonel
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with oak leaf cluster
Combat Readiness Medal with oak leaf cluster
National Defense Service Medal with device
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
National Reconnaissance Office Medal of Distinguished Performance
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant June 7, 1986
First Lieutenant June 7, 1988
Captain June 7, 1990
Major March 1, 1998
Lieutenant Colonel March 1, 2002
Colonel Dec. 1, 2006
Brigadier General Nov. 10, 2011
Major General July 6, 2015
Lieutenant General Feb. 15, 2018
(Current as of January 2019)