Mr. James Thomas, a member of the Senior Executive Service, serves as the Senior Advisor and Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of the Air Force, Matthew Donovan. In this position, Mr. Thomas is the senior civilian adviser to the Secretary, providing budget, communications, legislative and policy support. He is responsible for overseeing the development and execution of the Secretary’s policies, goals and objectives throughout the Department of the Air Force.

Before joining the Department of the Air Force, Mr. Thomas was the Special Assistant and Team Chief to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs. He provided support in assessing the Department’s policies, requirements, plans and programs in support of the Secretary of Defense’s legislative agenda, and the Department’s relationship with Congress, particularly in matters of military personnel policy; military community and family policy; civilian personnel policy; and readiness and training. 

Prior to joining the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Mr. Thomas was the Assistant Vice President of Policy at the National Defense Industrial Association. Mr. Thomas provided strategic guidance to, and was the personal representative of the Chairman of the Board and the President and CEO on major initiatives, policy, business development and corporate communications relating to acquisition, intelligence, cyber security, federal budget, innovation, information technology and the industrial base. Mr. Thomas testified before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations at an open hearing titled, “Evaluating the Defense Contract Audit Process.” 

Mr. Thomas served as the Legislative Director and National Security Policy Advisor to Congressman Duncan Hunter of California, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. Mr. Thomas was responsible for all policy matters relating to national security, foreign affairs and veterans issues. He offered Congressman Hunter key advice and recommendations on matters relating to Iraq and Afghanistan, intelligence gathering and dissemination, industrial base policy and military readiness and training, among other policy issues.

Previously, Mr. Thomas worked as a Legislative Specialist in the Office of the Under Secretary for International Trade at the Department of Commerce. He managed all legislative activity for the International Trade Administration and provided strategic legislative advice to senior ITA principals. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Mr. Thomas enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. From 2002 to 2010, Mr. Thomas served as an infantryman with combat deployments to Iraq where he led Marines on search and recovery operations in western Iraq. He received numerous medals and awards including the Marine Non-Commissioned Officer of the Quarter Award.  

2005 Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio.  
2002 – 2010, United States Marine Corps Reserve 
2006 – 2007, Republican National Committee, Washington, D.C. 
2007 – 2009, Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, Washington, D.C.  
2009 – 2014, U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Duncan Hunter, Washington, D.C. 
2014 – 20017, National Defense Industrial Association, Arlington, Va. 
2017 – 2018, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 
2018 – present, Office of the Under Secretary of the Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.   
(Current as of March 2018)