Lt. Gen. Susan J. Helms is Commander, 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic), Air Force Space Command; and Commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Space, U.S. Strategic Command, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. As the U.S. Air Force's operational space component to USSTRATCOM, General Helms leads more than 20,500 personnel responsible for providing missile warning, space superiority, space situational awareness, satellite operations, space launch and range operations. As Commander, JFCC SPACE, she directs all assigned and attached USSTRATCOM space forces providing tailored, responsive, local and global space effects in support of national, USSTRATCOM and combatant commander objectives.
General Helms was commissioned from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1980. She has served as an F-15 and F-16 weapons separation engineer and a flight test engineer. As a flight test engineer, General Helms has flown in 30 types of U.S. and Canadian military aircraft. She has also served as project officer on the CF-18 aircraft as a U.S. Air Force Exchange Officer to the Canadian Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment.
After a 12-year NASA career that included 211 days in space, Helms returned to the U.S. Air Force in July 2002 to take a position at HQ USAF Space Command. After a stint as the division chief of the Space Superiority Division of the Requirements Directorate of Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado, she served as vice commander of the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base near Cape Canaveral, Florida. She then served as deputy director of operations (Technical Training) for Air Education and Training Command at Randolph Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas. Helms served on the Return To Flight task group after the Columbia accident. She was promoted to brigadier general in June 2006 and became commander of the 45th Space Wing on the same day of her promotion.
Helms was promoted to major general in August 2009. She served as the Director of Plans and Policy, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. She was directly responsible to the U.S. Strategic Command commander for the development and implementation of national security policy and guidance; military strategy and guidance; space and weapons employment concepts and policy; and joint doctrine as they apply to the command and the execution of its missions. She was also responsible for the development of the nation's strategic war plan, strategic support plans for theater combatant commanders and contingency planning for the global strike mission.
In January 2011, Helms was promoted to lieutenant general and assumed duties as commander, 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic), Air Force Space Command and Commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Space, US Strategic Command.
LT. GEN. SUSAN JANE HELMS