Lt. Gen. Kirk Smith, U.S. Air Force

Deputy Commander

Lt. Gen. Kirk Smith is assigned as the Deputy Commander, United States Africa Command, Stuttgart, Germany. He is responsible to the Commander to help direct and enable operations, activities, and investments for the command as they promote the national security interests for the U.S. in the 11.2 million square mile USAFRICOM area of responsibility, consisting of 53 African countries. USAFRICOM works with partners to counter transnational threats and malign actors, strengthen security forces, and respond to crisis in order to advance US national interests and promote regional security, stability and prosperity.

General Smith graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1989. After completing undergraduate pilot training, he remained at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, as a T-37 instructor pilot. Following MH-53J qualification, he completed multiple operational flying assignments to include squadron command. General Smith has been assigned to major command, air staff and multiple joint staffs. General Smith was Deputy Commanding General-Operations, NATO Special Operations Component Command/Special Operations Joint Task Force - Afghanistan, Bagram, Afghanistan.

Prior to assuming his current position, General Smith was Commander, Special Operations Command Europe, United States European Command, Stuttgart, Germany. In this role, he was responsible for operations for all U.S. special operations forces in the European Command area of operations.

EDUCATION

1989 Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
1996 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2001 Master of Science in International Relations, Troy State University, Ala.
2004 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2010 National War College, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.


ASSIGNMENTS

1. July 1989 - June 1990, Student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Columbus AFB, Miss.

2. June 1990 - June 1994, T-37 Instructor Pilot, 37th Flying Training Squadron, Columbus AFB, Miss.

3. June 1994 - March 1995, Student, MH-53J Mission Pilot Qualification Course, 551st Special Operations Squadron, Kirtland AFB, N.M.

4. March 1995 - November 1998, MH-53J Instructor/Evaluator Pilot, 21st Special Operations Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, England 

5. November 1998 - July 2001, MH-53M Evaluator Pilot and Executive Officer, 16th Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, Fla.

6. July 2001 - July 2003, Chief, Senior Officer Matters, Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla.

7. July 2003 - May 2004, Student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

8. May 2004 - September 2005, Chief, Washington D.C. Rated/Joint Colonel Assignments, Air Force Senior Leader Management Office, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.

9. September 2005 - October 2007, Commander, 21st Special Operations Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, England

10. October 2007 - July 2009, Chief, Personnel Support Division, Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla.

11. July 2009 - June 2010, Student, National War College, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.

12. June 2010 - September 2011, Vice Commander, 27th Special Operations Wing, Cannon AFB, N.M.

13. September 2011 - July 2012, Commander, Joint Special Operations Aviation Detachment–Afghanistan, Bagram, Afghanistan

14. July 2012 - August 2014, Special Assistant and Director, Commander’s Action Group, Headquarters United States Special Operations Command, MacDill AFB, Fla.

15. August 2014 - June 2016, Director, Strategic Plans, Programs, and Requirements, Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla.

16. June 2016 - March 2017, Director, Force Management and Development, Headquarters United States Special Operations Command, MacDill AFB, Fla.

17. March 2017 - June 2018, Deputy Commanding General-Operations, NATO Special Operations Component Command/Special Operations Joint Task Force - Afghanistan, Bagram, Afghanistan

18. June 2018 – August 2020, Commander, Special Operations Command Europe, United States European Command, Stuttgart, Germany

19. August 2020 – Present, Deputy Commander, United States Africa Command, Stuttgart, Germany.

SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS

1. September 2011 - July 2012, Commander, Joint Special Operations Aviation Detachment—Afghanistan, Bagram, Afghanistan, as a colonel

2. July 2012 - August 2014, Special Assistant and Director, Commander’s Action Group, Headquarters United States Special Operations Command, MacDill AFB, Fla., as a colonel

3. June 2016 - March 2017, Director, Force Management and Development, Headquarters United States Special Operations Command, MacDill AFB, Fla., as a brigadier general

4. March 2017 - June 2018, Deputy Commanding General-Operations, NATO Special Operations Component Command/Special Operations Joint Task Force - Afghanistan, Bagram, Afghanistan, as a brigadier general

5. June 2018 – August 2020, Commander, Special Operations Command Europe, United States European Command, Stuttgart, Germany, as a major general

6. August 2020 – Present, Deputy Commander, United States Africa Command, Stuttgart, Germany, as a lieutenant general.

FLIGHT INFORMATION

Rating: command pilot
Flight Hours: 3,395
Aircraft Flown: T-37B, T-38A, UH-1H, MH-53J, MH-53M and C-145

MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS

Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit Medal with two oak leaf clusters and C device
Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal with silver oak leaf cluster
Air Medal with oak leaf cluster
Aerial Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal

EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION

Second Lieutenant May 31, 1989
First Lieutenant May 31, 1991
Captain May 31, 1993
Major Sept. 1, 2000
Lieutenant Colonel April 1, 2005
Colonel Sept. 1, 2009
Brigadier General Dec. 3, 2014
Major General July 3, 2018
Lieutenant General August 4, 2020

 (Current as of August 2020)