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Dayton Business Journal...
Air Force to get first female four-star General
by Joe Cogliano, Senior Reporter
Monday, February 6, 2012 

The first female four-star General in the U.S. Air Force may soon land at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. 

On Monday, President Barack Obama nominated Lt. Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger for a promotion to General — making her the first woman to hold the rank. If confirmed by the Senate, it would mark Wolfenbarger’s return to Wright-Patt as commander of Air Force Materiel Command. 

She would take over for Gen. Donald Hoffman, who is slated to retire later this year. 

Wolfenbarger, who attended school in the Dayton region as a teenager, has held more than half a dozen assignments at Wright-Patt during her career, most recently as vice commander at AFMC under Hoffman, before leaving last September to serve as military deputy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition at the Pentagon. 

Defense industry insiders say Wolfenbarger is a significant Air Force figure because she was a graduate of the 1980 Air Force Academy class, the first to include women, and worked her way up the higher ranks at “lightning speed,” said Dan Curtis, owner of Beavercreek-based Curtis Consulting. 

In less than six months during 2009, Wolfenbarger was promoted to Major General and then Lieutenant General. Currently, she is one of only four active three-star Generals in the Air Force. 

Wolfenbarger is known for being well-liked and respected in the Dayton community, said Michael Bridges, president of Fairborn-based Peerless Technologies Corp., which does work with the Defense Department. 

If approved for the promotion and assignment to Wright-Patt, Wolfenbarger will take over AFMC at a critical juncture. The organization — which controls all the research, acquisitions and maintenance for the entire Air Force and has an annual budget approaching $60 billion — will have just finished restructuring its 12 centers into five. 

Wright-Patt will house a Life Cycle Management Center focusing on acquisition and will continue to be headquarters for Air Force Research Laboratory. 

The new Life Cycle Management Center will replace Aeronautical Systems Center and oversee activity at what is now the Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., and Air Armament Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. 

The restructuring effort, slated to be implemented by Oct. 1, is part of variety of efficiency initiatives across the Air Force. 

Wolfenbarger, a 1976 graduate of Beavercreek High School, was director of intelligence and requirements at AFMC when she was promoted to vice commander in late 2009. 

As vice commander of AFMC, Wolfenbarger was responsible for providing acquisition management and logistics support for a variety of Air Force aircraft and weapon systems. The command conducts research, development, test and evaluation of warfighter technology. 

During her career, Wolfenbarger has held several positions in the F-22 System Program Office at Wright-Patt. She also has served as the F-22 Lead Program Element Monitor at the Pentagon, and was the B-2 system program director for the Aeronautical Systems Center from April 2000 through December 2002. 

It was unclear when the Senate will vote on the nomination. 

Read this and other articles at the Dayton Business Journal


 
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