Gary Payton, who has overseen the Air Force’s space portfolio since 2005 is retiring, effective July 31, service officials announced Thursday. No word yet on who will succeed him as deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for space programs. A pilot and 1971 graduate of the Air Force Academy, Payton also flew on the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1985 as a payload specialist. He retired from active duty with the rank of colonel after more than 23 years of service. He has also served stints with NASA and the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization/Missile Defense Agency, and worked in the aerospace industry.
Feb. 23, 2024
The Department of the Air Force’s space acquisition boss called for industry to stop low-bidding contracts and for the Pentagon to only select realistic proposals on Feb. 23, arguing that failures to do so eventually forces the Space Force to “rob our future to pay for the past.”