Former AFSOC Commander Gets His Fourth Star

Former AFSOC Commander Gets His Fourth Star

a family at a military promotion ceremony.
Air Force Gen. Jim Slife has officially been promoted to the position of Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, receiving his fourth star in a ceremony at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, D.C.

In a ceremony attended by top military brass, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., Air Force Gen. Jim Slife was formally promoted to the position of Air Force Vice Chief of Staff on December 29. The promotion comes with a fourth star on his epaulet, making him a full general.

Slife was the former Commander of AFSOC at Hurlburt Field, Florida from 2019-2022, before he moved to other assignments in the Nation’s capital.

The Air Force has bestowed many awards on General Slife – he’s served in multiple combat deployments.

Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Allvin lauded his accomplishments at the promotion ceremony in Washington D.C. Allvin said Slife had โ€œseen all parts of the business and has done it with excellence.โ€

General Slife’s Career

After receiving his commission as a second lieutenant upon graduation from the ROTC program at Auburn University, Gen. Slife has accumulated over 3,100 flight hours as a command pilot in various aircraft, including the MH-53 and MQ-1.ย 

In addition to his time at Hurlburt, Slife and his family have had assignments at RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom, and Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.

Gen. Slife’s leadership experience extends beyond the Air Force, having held joint positions with other services, including vice commander of U.S. Southern Command, chief of staff for U.S. Special Operations Command, and chief of staff for United Nations Command and U.S. Forces Korea.

New Responsibilities

As the newly appointed Vice Chief of Staff, Gen. Slife will be crucial in guiding the Air Staff and assisting Gen. Allvin in organizing, training, and equipping the diverse forces under the Air Force’s umbrella.

General Slife believes his promotion comes with additional responsibilities in a geopolitical change that the Air Force will have a major role in.

“We stand at the precipice of a different strategic environment,” Gen. Slife told the people who came to his promotion ceremony. “General Brown called on us to accelerate change. Secretary Kendall has empowered us to think about what we need to have to be competitive for the next several decades.”

Leadership Acknowledged by Peers

Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., echoed Gen. Allvin’s sentiments, endorsing Gen. Slife as the right leader to guide the Air Force through necessary changes for great power competition.ย 

He expressed confidence in Gen. Slife’s ability to provide thoughtful insights, emphasizing the importance of having someone on the team who understands the challenges and has a track record of success.

Looking Ahead

Gen. Jim Slife steps into his role as the Air Force’s 41st Vice Chief of Staff.ย 

As the military landscape continues to evolve, the armed services will need Gen. Slife’s to create, maintain and advance strategic vision and commitment to excellence in the Air Force.


General Jim Slife

General Slife’s Jacket

Gen. James C. “Jim” Slife currently serves as the Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force in Arlington, Virginia. As the Vice Chief, he plays a pivotal role in guiding the Air Staff and is a member of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council. In this capacity, he assists the Chief of Staff in organizing, training, and equipping the diverse forces comprising 689,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilian personnel in the United States and overseas.

Born outside of Detroit and raised in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Gen. Slife was commissioned through the ROTC program at Auburn University. With a strong background in special operations aviation, he has deployed extensively throughout his career. Prior to his current role, Gen. Slife served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Arlington, Virginia.

Gen. Slife holds a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Auburn University and has pursued advanced education, including a Master of Aerospace Science in Aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and a Master of Administrative Science in Organizational Management from The George Washington University.

Throughout his distinguished career, Gen. Slife has held various command and leadership positions, including Commander of the 27th Special Operations Group, Commander of the 1st Special Operations Wing, and Vice Commander of Headquarters U.S. Special Operations Command, among others.

As a command pilot with over 3,100 flight hours in aircraft such as the MH-53 and MQ-1, Gen. Slife has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and Air Medal. His contributions extend beyond the military, as seen in his recognition as the Major General John R. Alison Special Operations Educator of the Year in 2008.

Gen. Slife’s extensive joint and strategic experience positions him as a key leader in the U.S. Air Force, and his current role as Vice Chief reflects his commitment to shaping and strengthening the future of the military branch.


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Staff Reports

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