QUANTICO, Va. --
The Air Force Office of Special Investigations’ storied legacy turned the page when the 70-year old organization welcomed its new commander.
Brig. Gen. Terry L. Bullard became the 19th Commander of AFOSI during a change of command ceremony at the Fort Belvoir, Va., Officer’s Club, May 16, 2019. He accepted the reins of responsibility and leadership for the Air Force’s federal law enforcement, criminal investigations and counterintelligence enforcement agency from the 18th Commander, Col. Kirk B. Stabler.
Earlier that day, then Colonel Bullard was accorded his promotion ceremony to brigadier general. Promotion to brigadier general is a lengthy process. From a list of candidates identified by a promotion board of general officers, through review by the service chief, Secretary, and Defense Secretary, and finally from the President's desk to Senate confirmation.
Many active duty officers will never see a flag, as the number is limited; by law, no more than 75 out of every 10,000 active-duty commissioned officers may serve as a general officer.
Lt. Gen. Sami D. Said, The Inspector General of the Air Force and presiding officer over both ceremonies, put into perspective how tough it is to become a general in the Air Force.
“Last year we had close to 1,400 candidates up for one-star, only 44 were picked,” he said. “Statistically, you’re 100 times more likely to be struck by lightning, 300 times more likely to sink a hole-in-one and you have about the same chance to hear your name called to ‘come on down’ on The Price Is Right. So, it is a big deal.”
General Bullard has served OSI and the nation for 26 years, most recently as OSI’s Vice Commander beginning in June 2017. His accomplishments as the Vice Commander, earned him his second Legion of Merit Award.
The award citation read in part: “Colonel Bullard provided strategic oversight and direction for the Air Force’s only counterintelligence, felony crime, and fraud investigative organization, guiding management of the command’s headquarters, 10 wing-level headquarters and 237 subordinate field units, while executing a 250 million dollar budget. He oversaw nearly 4,000 investigations and operations that resulted in 1,299 convictions, 1,450 years’ incarceration and more than 400 million dollars recovered by the United States government.”
It went on to state: “…committed to supporting, celebrating, and leveraging the myriad backgrounds of the command’s 3,000 officer, enlisted and civilian personnel, Colonel Bullard championed the establishment of the agency’s first-ever diversity and inclusion program. The subsequent strategies and policies borne of this visionary effort upheld equality and respect for all of the organization’s total force Airmen.”
“Everything in that decoration citation is the result of everyone around me rowing in the same direction,” General Bullard said at the ceremony. “They got me to where I am today.”
Brig. Gen. Bullard brings a wealth of field experience to the top leadership role. Upon his commissioning as a Distinguished Graduate of the Air Force ROTC program at The Citadel, in Charleston, S.C., he was directly accessed into OSI in 1993.
He’s served as a special agent, operations officer (in garrison and deployed), a forensic science specialist, staff officer, two-time detachment commander in overseas locations, squadron commander, and teacher on the faculty of the Air University in both research and strategy.
To work as an agent and to serve and lead others at the detachment and squadron levels is especially important to him.
“I am convinced that no matter how high you get in the organization, no matter where you end up, there’s nothing more precious or more special than that opportunity to lead and be face-to- face with your Airmen and those around you,” he said.
Brig. Gen. Bullard deployed five times throughout the U.S. Central Command in tactical level counterintelligence related activities, at the operational level for USCENTCOM and as Commander, 24th Expeditionary Field Investigations Squadron.
Prior to joining leadership at OSI Headquarters, he was Commander, 2nd Field Investigations Region, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., supporting Air Combat Command worldwide.
Of his time as OSI Vice Commander, General Bullard said, “I’ve had the best seat in the house to learn from somebody what it means to lead with compassion, heart and dedication.”
“Terry is the right person to lead AFOSI into a bright future,” wrote Col. Stabler in announcing to the command that then Brig. Gen. (select) Bullard was chosen by the Secretary of the Air Force as the next commander of AFOSI. “I am confident the command will be in great hands moving forward and I look forward to watching the next chapter in our amazing history.”