Lt. Gen. Pawlikowski nominated to be new AFMC commander

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WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — Air Force officials announced on Feb. 13 the president’s nomination of Lt. Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski to the rank of general, with assignment as the commander of Air Force Materiel Command. Officials also announced the retirement of current AFMC Commander Gen. Janet C. Wolfenbarger.

No date has been announced for the retirement and change of command.

Pawlikowski is currently the Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, at the Pentagon in Washington D.C.

Pending Senate confirmation as AFMC commander, she would oversee some 80,000 people and manage $60 billion annually, executing the critical mission of warfighter support through leading-edge science and technology, cradle-to-grave life cycle weapon systems management, world-class developmental test and evaluation, and world-class depot maintenance and supply chain management.

Pawlikowski entered the Air Force in 1978 through the ROTC program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She then attended the University of California at Berkeley and received a doctorate in chemical engineering in December 1981, entering active duty in April 1982.

The general’s career has spanned a wide variety of technical management, leadership and staff positions, including command at the wing and center levels. She has served as Director of the Acquisition Management Office for the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Atomic Energy and as Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Counterproliferation, Office of the Secretary of Defense. 

Her leadership assignments included Program Director of the Airborne Laser Program; Commander of the Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing; Deputy Director of the National Reconnaissance Office; Commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory; and most recently Commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center.

Pawlikowski is nationally recognized for her leadership in the U.S. science and technology community. She is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and an elected member of the National Academy of Engineers.

Wolfenbarger, who became the Air Force’s first female four-star general in 2012, will retire after more than 34 years of service.

She is a 1980 Air Force Academy graduate and member of the first class with female cadets at the Academy. She holds master’s degrees in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and in national resource strategy from the National Defense University.

Wolfenbarger began her career in acquisitions as an engineer at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. She held a variety of assignments at headquarters Electronic Security Command and Air Force Systems Command, one of the predecessor commands to AFMC.

The general held several positions in the F-22 System Program Office, served as the F-22 lead program element monitor at the Pentagon, and was the B-2 system program director for the then-Aeronautical Systems Center.

Wolfenbarger commanded ASC’s C-17 Systems Group, Mobility Systems Wing, and was the service’s director of the Air Force Acquisition Center of Excellence at the Pentagon, served as director of the headquarters AFMC Intelligence and Requirements Directorate, then served as the Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition at the Pentagon. She has been the AFMC commander since June 2012.