Colonel John P. Smail

Senior Cyber Officer
U.S. Space Force

Keynote: Lunch and Keynote: Cyber Enabled Space Operations

Colonel John P. Smail is the Senior Cyber Officer, U.S. Space Force, the Pentagon, Washington D.C. In this role, he provides advice to the Chief of Space Operations on the U.S. Space Force’s cyber, spectrum and warfighting communications policy, strategy and operations. Col Smail is also the career field manager for the cyber operations officers of the U.S. Space Force.

Colonel Smail has had several assignments in space operations, intelligence, combat communications, and cyber operations. He has deployed in support of Operation DESERT SHIELD/STORM, ALLIED FORCE and provided direct support to Operations NORTHERN WATCH, JOINT FORGE, and JOINT GUARDIAN. In 2003, he deployed to Camp Sather, Baghdad, Iraq for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. In 2005, Colonel Smail deployed for Hurricane Katrina relief and in 2006 to Multi-National Corps-Iraq, Camp Victory, Iraq. In 2010, he deployed again as the Commander, 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.


1995 Bachelors of Business Administration in Information Systems Management, Georgia College and State University (Cum Laude)
1996 Basic Communications Officer Training, Distinguished Graduate, Keesler AFB, MS
2001 Master of Science in Information Systems Management, Bowie State University, Bowie, MD.
2002 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, AL.
2005 Advanced Communications Officer Training, Distinguished Graduate, Keesler AFB, MS
2009 U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS.
2010 School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Maxwell AFB, AL
2014 Naval War College, Newport Naval Station, R.I.


1. August 1986-January 1990, Base Comm Specialist, 1979th Communications Squadron, RAF Lakenheath, UK
2. January 1990-January 1996, Network Administrator, 5th Combat Communications Group, Robins AFB, GA. (August 1990-April 1991, Operation DESERT SHIELD/STORM, HQ USCENTAF, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
3. January 1996-May 1996, Officer Training School (Distinguished Graduate), Maxwell AFB, AL
4. June 1996-January 1999, Chief, Air Operations Center Systems, 608th Air Communications Squadron, Barksdale AFB, LA
5. January 1999-January 2001, Chief, Intelligence Systems Branch, HQ USAFE, Ramstein Air Base (AB), Germany (May 1999- August 1999, Chief, Network Ops, Joint Task Force NOBLE ANVIL, Naples, Italy)
6. January 2001-April 2002, Chief, Current C4 Operations Branch, HQ USAFE, Ramstein AB, Germany
7. May 2002-May 2003, Flight Commander, Combat Support Flight, 31st Combat Comm Squadron, Tinker AFB, OK
8. May 2003-May 2004, Flight Commander, Training & Evaluations, 3d Combat Comm Support Squadron, Tinker AFB, OK (Nov 2003-Apr 2004, 447th Expeditionary Comm Squadron, Camp Sather, Iraq)
9. May 2004-May 2005, Flight Commander, 31st Combat Communications Squadron, Tinker AFB, OK
10. May 2005-March 2007, Chief, Warfighting Integration, Directorate of Logistics and Warfighting Integration, Headquarters Air Force Space Command, Peterson AFB, CO (May 2006-September 2006, Chief Current Operations, Camp Victory, Iraq)
11. March 2007-June 2008, Executive Officer, Directorate of Communications & Information, Headquarters Air Force Space Command, Peterson AFB, CO
12. June 2008-June 2009, Student, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS
13. July 2009-July 2010, Student, School for Advanced Air and Space Studies, Maxwell AFB, AL
14. August 2010-August 2011, Commander, 455th Expeditionary Comm Squadron, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan
15. August 2011-August 2013, Deputy Commander, 3d Combat Communications Group, Tinker AFB, OK.
16. July 2013-June 2014, Student; Naval War College, Newport Naval Station, R.I.
17. July 2014-July 2016, Branch Chief, Cybersecurity & Cyber Defenses, Joint Staff/J6, Pentagon, Washington, D.C
18. July 2016-July 2017, Vice Commander, 688th Cyberspace Wing, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, TX
19. Aug 2017-Mar 2020, Director, Cyberspace Operations & Deputy Director, Communications Systems Directorate (Wing/CC), National Reconnaissance Office, Chantilly, VA
20. Mar 2020-Present, Senior Cyber Officer, Office of the Chief of Space Operations, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.


Defense Superior Service Medal
Bronze Star
Defense Meritorious Service Medal 1 Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC)
Meritorious Service Medal with 3 OLC
Joint Service Commendation Medal with 1 OLC


2d Lieutenant 3 May 1996
1st Lieutenant 3 May 1998
Captain 3 May 2000
Major 1 Mar 2006
Lieutenant Colonel 1 Mar 2010
Colonel 1 Apr 2016