About the Expert
Colonel Kristen D. Thompson, U.S. Air Force, was most recently the commander of the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, where she was responsible for organizing, training, and equipping six groups and thirty squadrons executing worldwide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; electronic attack; and nuclear command, control, and communications support. As the commander, she was also responsible for supporting more than fifty associate units, including U.S. Strategic Command, the 557th Weather Wing, 595th Command and Control Group, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, and more than fifty-seven-thousand active-duty members, civilians, family members, and retirees across Nebraska. Colonel Thompson earned her commission from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2001. She attended undergraduate pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, and then went on to fly the E-3 AWACS at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, and at Geilenkirchen Air Base, Germany.
Colonel Thompson has been assigned to the Oﬃce of the Secretary of Defense where she was the military assistant to the under secretary of defense for policy. In this capacity, she assisted the under secretary in directing all strategic policy and planning for the Department of Defense. Colonel Thompson has served in a variety of positions, including speechwriter in the Secretary of the Air Force Executive Action Group, where she prepared all strategic communication for senior Air Force leadership; legislative fellow in the U.S. House of Representatives; and executive oﬃcer to the Combined Forces Air Component Commander at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
Colonel Thompson has ﬂown and deployed in support of multiple combat operations across the world. Prior to Wing Command, she served as commander of the 380th Expeditionary Operations Group, Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, where she ran the busiest, most dynamic airﬁeld in the U. S. Air Force, consisting of eleven platforms which covered all ﬁve Air Force core functions. Colonel Thompson is a command pilot with more than 3,800 ﬂying hours, including more than 700 combat hours in the U.S. and NATO E-3 AWACS and RC-135 aircraft. She holds a master’s degree in national security strategy from the National War College.