Maj. Gen. James R. Sears Jr. is the Commander, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. Maj. Gen. Sears reports directly to the Air Force Chief of Staff regarding the test and evaluation of more than 98 major acquisition programs valued at more than $1 trillion being assessed at 17 different locations. He directs the activities of more than 750 military, civilian and contractor personnel. As a member of the test and evaluation community, Maj. Gen. Sears coordinates directly with the offices of the Secretary of Defense and Department of the Air Force while executing realistic, objective and impartial operational testing and evaluation of Air Force, Space Force, coalition, and joint warfighting capabilities.
Maj. Gen. Sears was commissioned in 1991 as a graduate from the United States Air Force Academy. He has commanded the 61st Fighter Squadron, 20th Operations Group, 14th Flying Training Wing and 455th Air Expeditionary Wing and has held a variety of staff positions. His flight experience includes C-130 Hercules low-level special operations, every conventional mission in the F-16 Fighting Falcon, and three Air Education and Training Command assignments as an instructor pilot. Prior to his current assignment, Maj. Gen. Sears was the Director of Plans, Programs and Requirements at Headquarters Air Education and Training Command.
Maj. Gen. Sears is a command pilot with more than 3,600 flying hours, including contingency and combat sorties over Bosnia, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan.
1991 Bachelor of Science, Political Science, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
1997 Master of Arts, Human Resource Development, Webster University, St. Louis
1998 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2003 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2005 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2006 Master of Science, Joint Campaign Planning and Strategy, Joint Advanced Warfighting School, National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
2011 Leadership Development Program, Center for Creative Leadership
2012 Executive Leadership Development Program, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
1. August 1991–September 1992, Student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Williams Air Force Base, Ariz.
2. October 1992–January 1993, Student, C-130 Hercules Formal Training Unit, Little Rock AFB, Ark.
3. January 1993–December 1995, C-130 Aircraft Commander, Special Operations Low-Level II Pilot, and Mission Scheduler, 40th and 41st Airlift Squadrons, Pope AFB, N.C.
4. December 1995–March 1998, Assistant Chief of Standardization and Evaluation, T-3A Instructor Pilot, Chief Spin Pilot, and Flight Examiner, 557th Flying Training Squadron, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
5. April 1998–June 1999, Student, F-16 Fighting Falcon Formal Training Unit, Luke AFB, Ariz.
6. July 1999–April 2002, Wing Training and Life Support Officer, Flight Commander, and F-16 Mission Commander, 18th Fighter Squadron, Eielson AFB, Alaska
7. May 2002–April 2003, Assistant Director of Operations, F-16 Instructor Pilot and Flight Examiner, 35th Fighter Squadron, Kunsan Air Base, South Korea
8. April 2003–June 2005, Deputy Director, Pacific Air Forces Commander's Action Group, Hickam AFB, Hawaii
9. July 2005–June 2006, Senior Developmental Education Student, Joint Advanced Warfighting School, National Defense University, Naval Air Station Norfolk, Va.
10. July 2006–July 2007, Chief of Wing Safety, 56th Fighter Wing, Luke AFB, Ariz.
11. July 2007–October 2008, Commander, 61st Fighter Squadron, Luke AFB, Ariz.
12. October 2008–August 2010, Special Assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander, U.S. European Command, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe, Belgium
13. August 2010–June 2012, Commander, 20th Operations Group, Shaw AFB, S.C.
14. June 2012–July 2014, Commander, 14th Flying Training Wing, Columbus AFB, Miss.
15. July 2014–May 2016, Director of Assignments and Air Expeditionary Force Operations, Headquarters Air Force Personnel Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas
16. June 2016–June 2017, Commander, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan
17. July 2017–April 2018, Director of Intelligence, Operations, and Nuclear Integration, Headquarters Air Education and Training Command, JB San Antonio-Randolph, Texas
18. April 2018–April 2020, Director of Plans, Programs and Requirements, Headquarters Air Education and Training Command, JB San Antonio-Randolph, Texas
19. April 2020–present, Commander, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. October 2008–August 2010, Special Assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander, United States European Command, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe, Belgium, as a lieutenant colonel and colonel
Rating: command pilot
Flight hours: more than 3,600, including more than 460 combat hours
Aircraft flown: C-130E, T-3A, F-16, T-38C, T-6A, and F-35A
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters
Distinguished Flying Cross with “V” device
Bronze Star Medal
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with silver oak leaf cluster
Aerial Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant May 29, 1991
First Lieutenant May 29, 1993
Captain May 29, 1995
Major April 1, 2002
Lieutenant Colonel March 1, 2006
Colonel Oct. 1, 2009
Brigadier General June 24, 2016
Major General May 22, 2020
(Current as of January 2021)