Thomas E. Ayres is the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of the Air Force. In this role, he also serves as the Air Force’s Chief Ethics Official and Chief Legal Officer, providing oversight, guidance and direction for legal advice provided by more than 2,600 Air Force military and civilian lawyers worldwide.

Prior to his appointment as the General Counsel, Mr. Ayres spent the majority of his professional career as an Army judge advocate. He retired from active duty as a major general. He served in a variety of positions as a judge advocate including prosecutor, environmental litigator, appellate judge, commander of the Army’s legal center and school and culminating as the Deputy Judge Advocate General. He is a veteran of multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, leading teams of lawyers advising commanders. Prior to serving as a judge advocate, Mr. Ayres served as an airborne rifle platoon leader and personnel officer.

Mr. Ayres graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, the University of Pennsylvania, School of Law and later earned a Master of Laws and a Master of Strategic Studies.

1984 Bachelor of Science, United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.
1991 Juris Doctor, University of Pennsylvania School of Law, Philadelphia

1995 Master of Laws, The U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s School, Charlottesville, Va.
1999 U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
2005 Master of Strategic Studies, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pa.

Exceptional Civilian Service Award
Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters
Bronze Star with two oak leaf clusters
Master Parachutist Badge American
Trial Lawyer’s Association, Outstanding Military Trial Advocate, 1995

U.S. Supreme Court Bar
Pennsylvania State Bar
U.S. Court of Military Appeals

(Current as of September 2019)