Air Force chooses new leader for ISR, cyber effects

Maj. Gen. Leah Lauderback was nominated to get her third star and serve as deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and cyber effects operations.
Air Force Maj. Gen. Leah G. Lauderback delivers remarks during her promotion ceremony at the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., Sept. 8, 2020. Lauderback is the director of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for U.S. Space Force. (U.S Air Force photo by Eric Dietrich)

Maj. Gen. Leah Lauderback was selected to be the next Air Force deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and cyber effects operations, the Pentagon announced Thursday night.

If her nomination is confirmed by the Senate, she will take over for Lt. Gen. Mary O’Brien, who was selected in April to be the Joint Staff CIO and head the Pentagon’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) effort.

Lauderback, who will also pin on her third star, is currently serving as deputy chief of space operations for intelligence at Space Force headquarters.

That office serves as the administrative and policy office for intelligence, cyber and electromagnetic spectrum operations. It focuses on workforce, concepts, training, platforms and tools, and integrating the various capabilities under its purview. The 16th Air Force, the service’s information warfare organization, has operational responsibility for those capabilities.


In 2020, the ISR and cyber effects office added electromagnetic spectrum operations to its portfolio, folding in the electromagnetic spectrum management office under its purview. It also now houses the office for electromagnetic spectrum superiority, which used to be under the plans directorate at the Air Staff.  

Lauderback’s selection follows the announcement earlier this week that Maj. Gen. Kevin Kennedy was chosen to lead 16th Air Force and succeed Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh. Kennedy is currently the director of operations at U.S. Cyber Command.

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