Lt. Gen. James B. Hecker took over as the commander and president of Air University during an assumption of command ceremony Nov. 22, at Maxwell Air Force Base.
Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, Air Education and Training Command commander, presided over the ceremony and emphasized the importance of the AU mission to the Air Force to develop leaders, enrich minds, advance airpower, build relationships and inspire service.
“Ground zero for doctrine and development resides right here at Maxwell (AFB),” Webb said. “I’m counting on Air University to ensure we lead out of the gate and pave the way for future leaders.”
Taking the podium to speak to his command for the first time, Hecker talked about the excitement of leading an institution that is the intellectual and leadership-development center of the Air Force.
“Thank you for the opportunity of command,” Hecker said. “If you look at China, if you look at Russia, they are catching up to us, if not have caught up to us when it comes to military equipment. They haven’t caught up to us in human capital and that’s what we do here: we develop and we nurture human capital. That’s what we need to have a competitive edge on our adversaries. I really look forward to working with this community to make AU, and this community, even better.”
Hecker served as the vice director of operations for the Joint Staff at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, before taking command of AU.
Maj. Gen. Brad Sullivan stood as the acting AU commander and president upon the departure of Lt. Gen. Anthony Cotton, who held the position from February 2018 to October 2019. Sullivan is serving as the deputy commander of Air Force Global Strike Command and Air Forces Strategic-Air, U.S. Strategic Command at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana.
AU provides full spectrum education, research and outreach at every level through professional military education, professional continuing education and academic degree granting, leading 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, AU is responsible for officer commissioning through Officer Training School and the Reserve Officer Training Corps.