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Promotion of directorate deputy showcases importance of AFGSC mission

Col Pye promotes to Brig Gen.

Col. Mark Pye, Air Force Global Strike Command strategic plans, programs and requirements deputy director, second from the right, poses for a photo with his family during his promotion ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., August 21, 2020. Pye graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1994 and obtained the rank of Brigadier General 26 years later. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tessa B. Corrick)

Col Pye promotion to Brig Gen

A 2nd Bomb Wing Honor Guard member presents Col. Mark Pye, Air Force Global Strike Command strategic plans, programs and requirements deputy director, with a personal Brigadier General flag during Pye’s promotion ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., August 21, 2020. Pye graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1994 and obtained the rank of Brigadier General 26 years later. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tessa B. Corrick)

Col Pye Promotion to Brig Gen.

Col. Mark Pye, Air Force Global Strike Command strategic plans, programs and requirements deputy director, center, receives his new rank insignias from his daughter, Adelyn Pye, left, and his son, Mason Pye, right, during his promotion ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., August 21, 2020. Pye graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1994 and obtained the rank of Brigadier General 26 years later. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tessa B. Corrick)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --

Col. Mark Pye, deputy director of Strategic Plans, Programs and Requirements for Air Force Global Strike Command, was promoted to brigadier general, Aug. 21.

Pye will be the first one star directorate deputy-director in the command’s 11-year history. This comes only two months after the elevation of the A5/8 director position from brigadier general to major general.

“I’m humbled and honored for this privilege to continue to serve in the US Air Force…the greatest team ever assembled,” Pye said.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Pye held a hybrid ceremony with guests attending in person and virtually.

“The toughest thing about this is wanting to thank so many people and not being able to thank them all,” Pye said. “Success comes from a team of teams, and we wouldn’t be here today without the support of many of you who are celebrating with us today.”

Among the limited in-person attendees was Gen. Tim Ray, AFGSC commander, who presided over the ceremony.

“When you talk to Mark, you realize really quickly that he’s a thinker and a lifelong learner,” Ray said.

The command has seen a growth in its rank structure in the last five years, starting with the Air Force’s decision to elevate AFGSC to a four-star major command in 2015. In October 2019, the command also gained a three-star deputy commander.

According to Ray, the elevation of command leadership positions and supporting staff positions, like Pye’s, speaks to the importance of the AFGSC mission and the significance it plays in maintaining a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent. 

With the potential for conflict between the U.S. and major competitors being at its highest since the close of the Cold War, strategic plans, programs and requirements has gained new prominence. According to Ray, those who understand the planning business have a very important role in the future of the Air Force.

Pye comes to the headquarters staff with an extensive operational flying background in the KC-10 and B-2, operational test time in the B-52, contingency planning experience at a numbered Air Force and in the joint environment, and has commanded at the squadron and wing level.

“When you talk to him about the mission and the people, his eyes light up,” Ray added. “He has a passion for getting things right and big ideas. You can see his thoughts, and effort, reflect in products; and he’s played a big part in our command getting things done.”