Col. Billy E. Pope, Jr., is the Commander, 81st Training Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. As the Commander, he is responsible for the training of more than 25,000 military and civilians. He commands 12,000 Airmen and civilians, providing technical training for officers, enlisted, and civilians of the U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserves as well as other Department of Defense agencies in addition to international students. The training covers numerous electronic, computer, weather, medical, personnel, comptroller, and information management career fields and creates combat capability for expeditionary air, space, and cyberspace forces.
Col. Pope received his commission from the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Redlands in June 2001. He has served in numerous capacities within the communications and cyber operations career fields to include: cyberspace strategy, offensive and defensive cyber operations, and joint special operations communications. Col. Pope previously commanded at the group level and has held positions at service headquarters, joint combatant command, major command, and installation levels within the continental United States and abroad.
2001 Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, University of Redlands, Calif.
2006 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base (AFB), Ala.
2007 United States Marine Corps Expeditionary Warfare School, Marine Corps Base (MCB) Quantico, Va.
2007 Advanced Communications Officer Course, MCB Quantico, Va.
2007 Master of Human Relations, University of Oklahoma, Norman
2009 Marine Command and Staff College with Distinction, by correspondence
2011 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala, by correspondence
2013 Master of Public Administration, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
2014 Master of Military Strategy, School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2019 Master of Science in Military Strategy, National War College, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.
1. July 2001-October 2003, Deputy Chief of Network Operations, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), Calif.
2. October 2003-March 2005, Chief of Mission Systems Support, Computer Systems Squadron, United States Air Forces in Europe, Ramstein Air Base (AB), Germany
3. March 2005-May 2006, Chief, Director’s Action Group, Communications and Information Directorate, United States Air Forces in Europe, Ramstein AB, Germany
4. May 2006-June 2006, Student, Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
5. June 2006-May 2007, Student, United States Marine Corps Expeditionary Warfare School, Marine Corps Base (MCB) Quantico, Va.
6. May 2007-March 2010, Command Information Assurance Manager and Deputy Chief of Current Operations, Communications Directorate, Special Operations Command-Central, MacDill AFB, Fla.
7. March 2010-May 2011, Officer in Charge, Commander’s Communications Team, United States Central Command, MacDill AFB, Fla.
8. May 2011-July 2012, Flight Commander, Operations Flight, 6th Communications Squadron, MacDill AFB, Fla.
9. July 2012-June 2013, Air Force Fellow and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Scholar, Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, Mass.
10. June 2013-June 2014, Degree Candidate, School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
11. June 2014-July 2016, Commander, 81st Communications Squadron, Keesler AFB, Miss.
12. July 2016-May 2017, Branch Chief, Cyber Strategy, Office of the Air Force Chief of Information (CIO), Headquarters Air Force, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
13. May 2017-June 2018, Senior Executive Officer to the Air Force CIO, Headquarters Air Force, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
14. June 2018-July 2019, Research Fellow, National War College, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.
15. July 2019-June 2021, Chief, Future Operations Division, Headquarters United States Cyber Command, Fort Meade, Md.
16. June 2021-March 2023, Commander, 690th Cyberspace Operations Group, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas
17. March 2023-Present, Commander, 81st Training Wing, Keesler AFB, Miss.
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Superior Service Medal
Defense Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal
Joint Meritorious Unit Award with four oak leaf clusters
2008 United States Central Command Communications and Information Officer of the Year
2009 United States Central Command Communications and Information Officer of the Year
2013 Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Public Service, Harvard University
2014 Air Force Association Award for Best SAASS Thesis, Cyberspace and Technology
2016 Air Education and Training Command Information Dominance Field Grade Officer of the Year
2019 Distinguished Graduate and NDU President’s Writing Award, National War College
Cyber Power: A Personal Theory of Opportunity, Leverage, and Yet… Just Power, The Strategy Bridge, May 2014
Structural Causes and Cyber Effects: Why International Order is Inevitable in Cyberspace, Strategic Studies Quarterly, AU Press, Dec. 2014
Structural Causes and Cyber Effects: A Response to Our Critics, Strategic Studies Quarterly, AU Press, Aug. 2015
A Better State of War: Surmounting the Ethical Cliff in Cyber Warfare, The Drew Papers No. 29, AU Press, Feb. 2019
DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant July 13, 2001
First Lieutenant July 13, 2003
Captain July 13, 2005
Major Sept. 1, 2011
Lieutenant Colonel Jan. 1, 2016
Colonel Feb. 1, 2020
(Current as of March 2023)