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Earle Thompson

Deputy Director, Defense Research Programs & UAS Program Manager
Auburn University

A career Air Force officer with 36 years of service (28 in the Air Force), Colonel Thompson served as a fighter pilot in the A-10, A-37B and the F-16, academic instructor, instructor pilot, Flight commander, assistant operations officer and squadron commander. He has held a number of staff positions at the Wing, Numbered Air Force, Headquarters Air Force, and COCOM levels to include Wing Chief of Training, Inspector General Inspector and Instructor Pilot, Current Air Operations Chief and Joint Operations Center Chief of Operations at USCENTCOM, Deputy Director of Air Combat Command’s Directorate of Analysis and L2, and Executive Director of Air Force Safety at Headquarters Air Force in the Pentagon. Earle held various positions in operations, safety, systems acquisition, strategic planning, and has extensive international experience working in Southwest Asia, Europe, and South America. He currently teaches Aerodynamics, Air Space Management, and a UAS Survey class in the Aviation Management program in the College of Liberal Arts. Earle is the UAS Program Manager for the Auburn University Aviation Center and the Chairman of the Auburn University Regional Airport Safety Committee. Colonel Thompson is the Auburn University lead in the on-going UAS Center of Excellence efforts with the FAA in the ASSURE coalition of universities. He was the safety subject matter expert in an Auburn led study of Safety of UASs in the National Airspace funded by an FAA grant.


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