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Lt. Gen. John Thompson to Retire as Space & Missile Systems Center Commander; Gen. John Raymond Quoted

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Lt. Gen. John Thompson
Lt. Gen. John Thompson Commander SMC

Lt. Gen. John Thompson, the longest-serving three-star commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), is set to retire on Aug. 1st, culminating his 36 years of service at the U.S. Air Force

Senior leaders from the Department of Defense joined SMC and 61st Air Base Group members in a ceremony to celebrate Thompson's career, which included leadership roles across acquisition, strategic systems and life cycle management programs, USAF said Tuesday.

During his command, Thompson managed a $9 billion annual budget, 85 percent of which was allocated for space funds, and ushered over 6,300 military, government and contract employees. 

“If you look at what has happened since JT took command, he has completely reorganized SMC, has been instrumental in establishing the U.S. Space Force, and now, he has planned the establishment of the Space Systems Command,” said Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations at USSF and a 2021 Wash100 Award recipient.

Thompson, in the past year, focused on the preliminary works for the newest field command of the Space Force to facilitate the development and acquisition of space warfighting systems.

“Heading into this next chapter in space history, I look forward to the establishment and activation of the Space Systems Command and how that takes this organization, our processes and our people even further,” Thompson said.

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