Larry D. James

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Lieutenant General

Larry D. James
Larry james.jpg
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Air Force
Years of service1978–2013
RankLieutenant General
Commands heldDeputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Headquarters USAF
Larry D. James
Space career
USAF Astronaut
Selection1982 USAF Group

Lieutenant General Larry D. James, Ret. is the deputy director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.[1] and former NASA astronaut. He assumed his duties on Sep. 23, 2013. He acts as the Laboratory's Chief Operating Officer responsible to the Director for the day-to-day management of JPL's resources and activities. This includes managing the Laboratory's solar system exploration, Mars, astronomy, physics, Earth science, interplanetary network programs, and all business operations. These activities employ 5000 scientists, engineers, technicians, and business support personnel, generating $1.8 billion in annual revenues. Prior to his current role, he served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Headquarters USAF. Lt Gen James' prior command was the 14th Air Force and Joint Functional Component Command for Space from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. He has held numerous positions of leadership throughout the United States Air Force and has extensive experience with space issues.


Background and education[edit]

Larry James graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science in astronautical engineering. In 1983, he received his Master of Science degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

US Air Force officer career[edit]

James entered the Air Force as a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1978. His career has spanned a wide variety of space operations and acquisition assignments, including Manned Spaceflight Engineer, Air Staff program element monitor, Global Positioning System satellite program manager and Chief of Operations, 14th Air Force.

James has commanded at the squadron, group and wing levels, and was Vice Commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center. He has served on the staffs of Headquarters U.S. Air Force, U.S. Space Command and Air Force Space Command. He also served as the Senior Space Officer for Operation Iraqi Freedom at Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia. Prior to his last assignment, the general was Vice Commander, 5th Air Force, and Deputy Commander, 13th Air Force, Yokota Air Base, Japan.

Current Position[edit]

General James retired from the Air Force on August 1, 2013,[2] and assumed the role of deputy director of JPL on Sep. 23, 2013. He was selected after a search committee considered a number of candidates.

Previous Command[edit]

Gen. James was previously assigned as Commander, 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic), Air Force Space Command, and Commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Space, U.S. Strategic Command, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. As the U.S. Air Force's operational space component to USSTRATCOM, General James led more than 20,500 personnel responsible for providing missile warning, space superiority, space situational awareness, satellite operations, space launch and range operations. As Commander, JFCC SPACE, he directed all assigned and attached USSTRATCOM space forces providing tailored, responsive, local and global space effects in support of national, USSTRATCOM and combatant commander objectives.

Major awards and decorations and other achievements[edit]

Major Awards and decorations
Other achievements
  • Top third graduate, Air Command and Staff College
  • Top 10 percent graduate, Air War College
  • National Finalist, White House Fellow Program


  1. ^ "Retiring JPL Deputy Director Passes the Torch". Retrieved 2013-10-06.
  2. ^ "James To Become Next JPL Deputy Director". Retrieved 2013-10-06.