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Slife promoted to general, assumes AF’s second highest military position

  • Published
  • By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Air Force Gen. Jim Slife formally received his fourth star during a ceremony celebrating his promotion and new position as the Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Dec. 29 at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, D.C.

In an event attended by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., Department of the Air Force leaders, Slife’s wife Gwendoyln, and their four children, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Allvin praised Slife as someone who has “seen all parts of the business and has done it with excellence.”

“The idea of leaving things better than when you found it, that is one of his hallmarks,” he said. “I could not be happier to be able to have this ceremony, put these stars on and get to work with Jim.”

Brown echoed Allvin’s sentiment, affirming Slife as the right person to help guide the service as it goes through necessary changes to reoptimize for great power competition.

“This is a very proud day because this is something I thought Jim Slife truly deserved,” he said. “I really felt like Jim was one of those that I could always turn to because he always provided thoughtful insights.”

In his remarks, Slife thanked numerous family members, friends, mentors, and colleagues to whom he attributes his success.

“I have such a sense of gratitude, and I wish every Airman had someone in their life who believed in them unconditionally,” he said.

Commissioned through the ROTC program at Auburn University, Slife has spent most of his Air Force career in special operations aviation assignments, including Hurlburt Field, Fla., RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom, and Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.

Slife is a command pilot with more than 3,100 flight hours in the MH-53 and MQ-1 among others. He most recently served as the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for operations, leading the development and implementation of policy directly supporting global operations, force management, training, and readiness.

He has commanded Air Force Special Operations Command and held numerous joint leadership positions 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.

As the Vice Chief, Slife will guide the Air Staff and assist Allvin with organizing, training and equipping 689,000 active duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilian forces serving in the United States and overseas. Like Allvin, he steps into his new role with an understanding of the challenges facing the force and a sense of urgency to address them.

“We stand at the precipice of a different strategic environment,” Slife said. “General Brown called on us to accelerate change. Secretary Kendall has empowered us to actually think about… what we need to have to be competitive for the next several decades.”

Allvin emphasized the value Slife will bring to that problem set.

“[It’s] the hardest thing we’ve done in a long time and maybe the hardest thing we do together,” he said. “So having someone on the team who knows that and has done that… couldn’t be better now for our force.”