Brig. Gen. John M. Olson is the Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, Sixteenth Air Force; Air Forces Cyber; Joint Force Headquarters-Cyber and Service Cryptologic Component, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The general leads the more than 44,000 active, Reserve and Guard personnel of the Sixteenth Air Force and is responsible for information warfare in multi-domain (air, sea, land, space and cyberspace) operations worldwide. Sixteenth Air Force Airmen are responsible for mission integration of forces and capabilities for multi-source intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; cyber operations and expeditionary communications; electronic and electromagnetic warfare; information operations and weather in both strategic and tactical adversary competition and conflict. Air Forces Cyber personnel build, operate, secure, defend and extend the Air Force portion of the Department of Defense global network. Joint Force Headquarters–Cyber personnel perform operational planning, defensive and authorized offensive cyberspace operations. Service cryptologic component personnel are responsible to the National Security Agency and Central Security Service for Air Force matters involving cryptologic activities across the full spectrum of missions--from tactical warfighting to national-level operations. The general leads the activities of the Sixteenth Air Force headquarters supporting Air Force, combatant, geographic and unified commanders and operating globally across nine wings, one technical center and an operations center.
Brig. Gen. Olson graduated with military distinction from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1992 and received a graduate scholarship to earn a master’s degree in engineering from the University of Illinois. His initial assignment was to the Air Force Advanced Composites Program Office at Sacramento Air Logistics Center, California. While on active duty, he held numerous air and space, acquisition, test, systems, munitions, political-military, technology and intelligence command, staff and leadership roles. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and a former European and Eurasian Foreign Area Officer. The general transitioned to the Air Force Reserve in 2004 after joining NASA, where he served as a Senior Executive Service civilian leader in several roles. He deployed to Southwest Asia in 2011 to the 379th Expeditionary Wing, supporting air and space operations for operations Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, New Dawn in Iraq, Odyssey Dawn in Libya and Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. In his civilian capacity, he is the CEO of a private, multi-billion dollar corporation, following 25 years of federal service culminating as the Assistant Director for Space and Aeronautics in the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House.
Prior to his current assignment, his other general officer assignments include service as the Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, 24th Air Force, Air Forces Cyber, and Joint Forces Headquarters-Cyber at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland; the Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center; and Air Force Program Executive Officer for Strategic Systems, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, overseeing the largest acquisition and development program in the nation’s history.
1992 Bachelor of Science, Engineering Sciences and Mechanical Engineering, minor in German, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
1993 Master of Science, Materials Science and Engineering, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana
1997 French Language and Russian for Astronauts courses, Defense Language Institute, Presidio of Monterey, Calif.
1998 U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, Flight Test Engineer course, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
1999 Squadron Officer School, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2001 Master of Science, Aviation Systems, University of Tennessee
2001 Joint Special Operations School, European and Eurasian Foreign Area Officer courses, Hurlburt Field, Fla.
2002 Air Command and Staff College, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2003 Doctorate of Philosophy, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Auburn University, Auburn, Ala.
2005 Harvard Senior Executive Fellows program, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
2006 Defense Systems Management College and Program Management Officers course, Fort Belvoir, Va.
2008 Air War College, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2018 Executive Leadership Program, University of North Carolina, Keenan-Flagler Graduate School of Business, Chapel Hill
2019 National Cybersecurity Policy and Technology program, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
1. July 1992–June 1993, Student, U.S. Air Force Academy Graduate School Program and Air Force Institute of Technology Civilian Institutions Program, University of Illinois-Urbana, Ill.
2. June 1993–February 1995, Advanced Composites and Stealth Engineer, Aircraft Battle Damage Repair Engineer and Maintenance Officer, Sacramento Air Logistics Center, McClellan Air Force Base, Calif.
3. February 1995–May 1996, Student, Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Reese AFB, Texas
4. May 1996–September 1997, Special Operations Test Director and Flight Test Engineer, Detachment 1, 46th Operations Group, Hurlburt Field, Fla.
5. September 1997–June 1998, Student, French Language Program and Russian Experimental Course, Defense Language Institute, Presidio, Monterey, Calif.
6. June 1998–June 1999, Student, U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, Class 98B, Edwards AFB, Calif.
7. June 1999–July 2001, Chief, Airborne Test Branch and European and Eurasian Foreign Area Officer, Munitions Test Division, 46th Operations Group, 46th Test Wing, Air Armament Center, Eglin AFB, Fla.
8. July 2001–January 2002, Director of Test, Weapons Test Flight and European and Eurasian Foreign Area Officer, Munitions Test Division, 46th Operations Group, 46th Test Wing, Air Armament Center, Eglin AFB, Fla.
9. January 2002–July 2003, Flight Commander, Special Projects, Air to Air Joint Systems Program Office, 46th Operations Group, 46th Test Wing, Air Armament Center, Eglin AFB, Fla.
10. July 2003–June 2004, Chief, Test, Operations, and Programs Division, Space Vehicle Operations Directorate, Detachment 12, Space and Missile Systems Center, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
11. June 2004–June 2006, Chief, Test and Operations Division, Space Test Program Washington Representative, Detachment 12, Space and Missile Systems Center, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
12. June 2006–April 2011, Chief, Space Technology and Acquisition, National Security Space Office, Headquarters Air Force, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
13. April 2011–April 2012, Space Situational Awareness Program Element Monitor, Space Control and Advanced Technology, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Space Acquisition, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
14. April 2012-May 2012, Deputy Director, Technical Intelligence, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
15. May 2012–August 2016, Director, Joint Reserve, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
16. August 2016–August 2017, Individual Mobilization Augmentee to Air Force Program Executive Officer for Agile Combat Support, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
17. August 2017–January 2019, Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, and Air Force Program Executive Officer for Strategic Systems, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
18. January 2019–October 2019, Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, Twenty-Fourth Air Force; Commander, Air Forces Cyber; and Commander, Joint Force Headquarters-Cyber, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas
19. October 2019–present, Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, Sixteenth Air Force; Commander, Air Forces Cyber; Commander, Joint Force Headquarters-Cyber; and Commander, Service Cryptologic Component, JB San Antonio-Lackland, Texas
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. January 2002–July 2003, Flight Commander, Special Projects, Air to Air Joint Systems Program Office, 46th Operations Group, 46th Test Wing, Air Armament Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., as a major
2. June 2006–April 2011, Chief, Space Technology and Acquisition, National Security Space Office, Headquarters Air Force, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., as a major and lieutenant colonel
3. June 2011–October 2011, Chief, Diplomatic Clearances Officer, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, Southwest Asia, as a lieutenant colonel
4. April 2012–August 2016, Director, Joint Reserve, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., as a colonel
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Legion of Merit
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
NASA Distinguished Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Achievement Medal
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with silver oak leaf clusters
Air Force Organizational Excellence Award
National Defense Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Nuclear Deterrence Operations Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal
Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with gold border
Air Force Longevity Service Award with five oak leaf clusters
Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” device
Small Arms Expert Medal
Air Force Training Ribbon
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant May 27, 1992
First Lieutenant May 27, 1994
Captain May 27, 1996
Major Nov. 1, 2002
Lieutenant Colonel Aug. 2, 2007
Colonel May 1, 2012
Brigadier General Dec. 12, 2018
(Current as of May 2020)