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Christopher C. “Chad” Daniels, a lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force (USAF), is a 2017-18 military fellow at The Washington Institute. Colonel Daniels most recently served as chief of the Airlift Control Team, Air Mobility Division (AMD), 603rd Air Operations Center (AOC), United States Air Forces in Europe, based at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Prior to this assignment, he served as deputy commander, 916th Operations Group (OG), Seymour Johnson AFB, NC, which comprised 379 personnel and three squadrons. Previously, he served as operations officer, then commander, of the 911th Air Refueling Squadron, an operational flying unit that executes global air refueling, airlift, and aeromedical evacuation missions and is made up of 240 active duty personnel with 33 diverse Air Force specialty codes, including pilots, boom operators, aircrew flight equipment, aeromedical, intelligence, combat crew communications, and aviation resource management professionals. Colonel Daniels has also served U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) as a security assistance officer based in the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait. In that post, he liaised with senior civilian and military leaders from both the Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense and the U.S. government as well as U.S. defense contractors, acting as a trusted agent for CENTCOM.
Colonel Daniels entered the Air Force in 1993 as an enlisted maintainer, serving as a crew chief on mobility aircraft. He was subsequently selected for the Air Force’s Airman Education and Commissioning Program and became a commissioned officer through the USAF’s Reserve Officer Training Corps. Colonel Daniels served as a maintenance officer on fighter aircraft before being selected for Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT). To date, he has accumulated extensive operational flying and contingency staff experience, including multiple deployments supporting Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn. Colonel Daniels has served in four commands: Air Mobility Command, Air Education and Training Command, United States Air Forces in Europe, and CENTCOM. He has held positions at squadron, group, wing, center, numbered air force and combatant command levels including; SUPT flight commander, wing executive officer, deployed operations officer, executive officer to the Third Air Force vice commander, security assistance officer, as well as operations officer, then commander of an operational flying unit. Additionally, he is a fully-qualified political affairs strategist. Colonel Daniels is a command pilot with more than 3,000 flying hours in T-37B, T-1A, KC-135R/T and KC-135R/R aircraft.