Maj. Gen. Kenneth P. Ekman is the Director, Strategy, Engagement and Programs, U.S. Africa Command, Stuttgart Möhringen, Germany. In this capacity, he contributes to U.S. policy and strategy, develops theater campaign, operational and force posture plans, integrates international and African partner military efforts and conducts U.S. inter-agency and international engagements consistent with U.S. Africa Command priorities.
Maj. Gen. Ekman received his commission in 1991 after graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has primarily flown sailplanes, the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the F-22 Raptor, and has commanded at the squadron, wing and Air Expeditionary Task Force levels. His staff assignments include service at U.S. Air Forces Central Command, Office of the Secretary of Defense, North American Aerospace Defense and U.S. Northern Commands and Office of the Defense Representative Pakistan. Prior to his current position, the general served as Deputy Commander for Operations, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve and Commander, 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force-Levant.
Maj. Gen. Ekman is a command pilot with more than 3,100 flying hours, including 605 combat hours in operations Southern Watch, Northern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
1991 Bachelor of Science, Distinguished Graduate, Aeronautical Engineering, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
1994 Master of Science, with Distinction, Mechanical Engineering, California State University, Fresno
1998 Squadron Officer School, Distinguished Graduate, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2004 Air Command and Staff College, Distinguished Graduate, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2005 School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2007 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2012 Joint & Combined Warfighting School, Norfolk, Va.
2012 Center for Creative Leadership, Goldsboro, N.C.
2013 Federal Executive Fellowship, The Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C.
2018 Capstone General and Flag Officer Course, National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
2020 Combined Forces Air Component Commander’s Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2020 Combined/Joint Forces Special Operations Component Commander’s Course, MacDill AFB, Fla.
2022 Joint Flag Officer Warfighting Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2022 Pinnacle Course, Royal College of Defense Studies, London, United Kingdom
1. August 1991–September 1992, Student, Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas
2. October 1992–December 1994, Curriculum Engineer and Sailplane Instructor, U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, Edwards AFB, Calif.
3. January 1995–February 1996, Student, F-16 Fighting Falcon Replacement Training Unit, Luke AFB, Ariz.
4. March 1996–June 1998, Electronic Combat Pilot, Chief of Scheduling and Instructor Pilot, 522nd Fighter Squadron, Cannon AFB, N.M.
5. July 1998–June 2000, Chief of Scheduling, Flight Commander, Assistant Operations Officer, 36th Fighter Squadron, Osan Air Base, South Korea
6. July 2000–December 2000, Student, F-16 Weapons Instructor Course, U.S. Air Force Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev.
7. January 2001–June 2003, Chief, 14th Fighter Squadron and 35th Operations Support Squadron Weapons and Tactics, Misawa AB, Japan
8. July 2003–June 2004, Student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
9. July 2004–June 2005, Student, School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
10. July 2005–July 2006, Chief of Campaign Strategy, 609th Combat Plans Squadron, Ninth Air Force/U.S. Central Air Forces, Shaw AFB, S.C.
11. August 2006–August 2007, Director of Operations, 55th Fighter Squadron, Shaw AFB, S.C.
12. September 2007 –May 2008, Chief of Safety, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, Balad AB, Iraq
13. July 2008–October 2009, Commander, 79th Fighter Squadron, Shaw AFB, S.C.
14. October 2009–February 2010, Commander, 79th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Bagram AB, Afghanistan
15. February 2010–June 2010, Deputy Commander, 20th Mission Support Group, Shaw AFB, S.C.
16. July 2010–May 2012, Tactical Air Analyst, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
17. June 2012–July 2013, Vice Commander, 49th Wing, Holloman AFB, N.M.
18. July 2013–April 2014, Federal Executive Fellow, The Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C.
19. May 2014–May 2015, Commander, 8th Fighter Wing, Kunsan AB, South Korea
20. May 2015–July 2016, Vice Director of Operations; Deputy Chief of Staff, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, Peterson AFB, Colo.
21. August 2016–December 2017, Vice Chief then Chief, Office of the Defense Representative-Pakistan, U.S. Embassy, Islamabad, Pakistan
22. January 2018–April 2020, Vice Commander, First Air Force & Air Forces Northern Command, Tyndall AFB, Fla.
23. April 2020–April 2021, Deputy Commander for Operations, Combined Joint Task Force–Operation Inherent Resolve; Commander, 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force–Levant, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait
24. July 2021–July 2024, Director, Strategy, Engagement, and Programs, U.S. Africa Command, Stuttgart-Möhringen, Germany
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. July 2010–May 2012, Tactical Air Analyst, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., as a colonel
2. May 2015–July 2016, Vice Director of Operations; Deputy Chief of Staff, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., as a colonel
3. August 2016–December 2017, Chief, Office of the Defense Representative-Pakistan, U.S. Embassy, Islamabad, Pakistan, as a brigadier general
4. April 2020–April 2021, Deputy Commander for Operations, Combined Joint Task Force–Operation Inherent Resolve, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, as a major general
5. July 2021–July 2024, Director, Strategy, Engagement, and Programs, U.S. Africa Command, Stuttgart-Möhringen, Germany, as a major general
Rating: command pilot
Flight hours: more than 3,100, including 605 combat hours
Primary aircraft flown: F-16, F-22, CAP C-182/C-206, T-38, T-37, sailplanes
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star Medal
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal
Aerial Achievement Medal
Air and Space Combat Action Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal
Samil Medal (Republic of Korea)
1991 Outstanding Cadet in Soaring, U.S. Air Force Academy
1992 Air Training Command Commander’s Trophy, Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training
1995 Distinguished Graduate, Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals
1996 Top Graduate, F-16 FTU Class 95-HBLG, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.
2000 Distinguished Graduate and Flying Award, F-16 Weapons Instructor Course 00B, Nellis AF B, Nev.
(Current as of November 2023)