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Managing Tactical US Military Networks: HOPE is Not a Plan

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Colonel (COL) David Wills, U.S. Army, retired 2021,as the Deputy Director for Command, Control, Communications, and Computers (C4) Systems, U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM). As the Deputy Director, C4 Systems, COL Wills is responsible for providing and assuring global-integrated C4 systems capabilities for the full spectrum of assigned missions. The USSTRATCOM mission requires a range of C4 systems to support national-level decision making and to conduct nuclear, global strike, space, and cyberspace operations.


Past assignments have taken COL Wills and his family across the globe during both peace and war. He is a 1991 graduate of the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point. He served in several operational and joint assignments. As a company grade officer, he served as HAWK Fire Direction Center, Stinger Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS), Chaparral, Avenger Platoon Leader and Battalion Adjutant (S-1) with the 3rd Battalion 1st Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Regiment and 2nd Battalion 2nd ADA Regiment at Fort Hood, Texas. He served as the Assistant Battalion Operations Officer (S-3) with 4th Battalion 7th ADA Regiment, Fort Lewis, Washington. He also served as the Assistant S-3 and Delta Battery Commander 2d Battalion, 1st ADA Regiment Patriot at Fort Bliss, Texas. Following Battery Command, he transitioned from Air Defense Artillery to Signal as a Functional Area (FA) 53 Systems Automation Officer and served as Battle Command Battle Laboratories Automation Chief, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. As a field grade officer, he has served as the Deputy to the V Corps Automation Management Officer, Heidelberg, Germany. COL Wills also served in three Joint positions: Chief Network Engineer and Branch Chief of the Network Engineering Branch, J6 Current Operations and Plans Division, United States Central Command (USCENTCOM); Enterprise Services Branch Action Officer, Joint/Combined Information Environment Division, Deputy Directorate for C4/Cyber, Joint Staff; and Pentagon Information Technology Services Division Chief, Deputy Directorate for Information Technology Services, Joint Staff J6. He has deployed throughout his career beginning as a Lieutenant in support of Operation Sea Signal, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 1994; Operation Southern Watch, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia in 1996; and Operation Iraqi Freedom assigned to the Multi-National Corps Iraq (MNC-I) in 2003 and Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF)-7 in 2007.


COL Wills’ awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award with seven Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Superior Unit Award, the Coast Guard Special Operations Service Ribbon and the Parachutist Badge.


In addition to his Masters’ Degree in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College (USAWC), he holds Masters’ Degrees in Human Resources and in Computer Resource Information Management from Webster University, as well as, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science from USMA. Currently, he is pursuing a Chief Information Officer (CIO) Certificate and Masters’ Degree from the National Defense University. His Military education includes USAWC, Command and General Staff Officers Course, the Combined Arms and Services Staff School and the Systems Automations Management Officers Course.


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