PJ leader selected for SES

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • OSI Public Affairs

The Office of Special Investigations has reached another milestone highlighting the quality of its people.

Mr. Terry Phillips, the Executive Director, Office of Special Projects (PJ) and United States Air Force and Space Force Special Access Program Security Director, has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service (SES), making him the first Executive Director of PJ to hold the rank of SES-1.  

“The elevation of the PJ Director position to the rank of SES-1 has been a years-long dream for OSI that’s finally come to fruition,” said OSI Commander, Brig. Gen. Terry L. Bullard, in announcing the event to the command. “This promotion and new responsibility not only elevates Mr. Phillips personally, but also highlights the immense value the Department of the Air Force and nation places on the work OSI and our PJ professionals do to protect Air Force and select DoD Special Access Programs around the world.”

The SES is a position classification in the civil service of the United States federal government, equivalent to general officer or flag officer ranks in the U.S. Armed Forces. It was created in 1979 when the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 went into effect under President Jimmy Carter.

Mr. Phillips’ initial reaction to the news? 

“Pride... I’m proud this appointment elevates all of OSI and recognizes the value of our technology protection mission,” the Auburn University alum said. “I am proud of OSI PJ’s rich history, culture, and record of success.  Finally, I am proud of the amazing work of our agents, security and cybersecurity specialists, analysts, and support staff … very, very proud.” 

Mr. Phillips directs 427 personnel at 41 field locations.

Prior to this assignment, Mr. Phillips served in a number of key leadership positions, including a tenure as the Associate Director for Counterintelligence of OSI and as the Deputy Director of Region 3. He brings both joint and multinational experience to this position, having served as the Director of Counterintelligence for the U.S. European Command and as the U.S. Counterintelligence Representative to NATO.

“Mr. Phillips is without doubt the right person to serve as OSI PJ’s first SES Executive Director and ensure we continue to safeguard the Department of the Air Force’s military and technological advantage,” General Bullard noted. “Over the past three and half years, he led PJ and represented our operations and investigations to the most senior DoD decision-makers.”

According to the Office of Personnel Management, the SES was designed to be a corps of executives selected for their leadership qualifications, serving in key positions just below the top Presidential appointees as a link between them and the rest of the Federal (civil service) workforce.

“Senior executives bridge organizational boundaries to drive success and improve National Security,” Mr. Phillips said.  “This appointment bonds OSI closer to our industry and law enforcement partners to protect critical defense technologies.  I look forward to expanding these partnerships in this new position.” 

SES positions are considered to be above the GS-15 level of the General Schedule, and below Level III of the Executive Schedule. Career members of the SES ranks are eligible for the Presidential Rank Awards program.

“I’m confident the success that’s been the hallmark of his career will continue, as he leads PJ through an era of new challenges,” General Bullard concluded. This is a proud day for OSI, PJ, and the Phillips family.”