Former Commander of Air Combat Command, U.S. Air Force
General Mike Holmes retired from the Air Force in October 2020 after nearly 40 years of service. He is the Chairman of the Board at Red 6 and the Air Force Historical Foundation, a senior advisor at The Roosevelt Group, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Air Force Studies Board, and the Stimson Center’s Loomis Council, an adjunct fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and advises several defense, tech and non-profit companies and organizations.
He completed his Air Force service leading the reorganization and transformation of Air Combat Command (ACC), a global organization operating and sustaining conventional fighter, C2, Rescue, ISR, Cyber, and EW forces operating from 11 Air Force Bases and more than 300 operating locations around the world. As the Air Force’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Programs, he led a team that shifted Air Force strategy to respond to a new national security environment and built and defended the USAF‘s input to three $600B Five Year Defense Plans with the Department of Defense and U.S. Congress. As the Deputy Commander of Air Education and Training Command, he directed all aspects of USAF education and training, from basic and technical training to advanced degree programs. As the Air Force’s Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Requirements, he coordinated global Air Force operations and requirements with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and regional military commanders. As Principal Director for Mid-East Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, he formulated regional defense policy with the National Security Council and Department of State and coordinated US defense relationships and activities with international partners. Before assuming his strategic roles, he commanded Air Force teams in positions of increasing complexity, responsibility, and accountability at the squadron, group, and wing level, including a year in command of Air Force forces in Afghanistan.
Mike graduated from the US Naval War College National Security Strategy program with highest honors and completed both the US Air Force’s School for Advanced Air and Space Power Studies program and the Fighter Weapons Instructor Course. He was the Graduate of the Year in the University of Alabama’s MA in History program at Maxwell AFB and received a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tennessee. He is a fighter pilot with over 4000 hours in the F-15 and T-38, including over 500 combat hours, and continues to fly general aviation aircraft.