Pringle Takes Helm at USAF Research Lab

The Air Force Research Laboratory welcomed Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle as its new commander on June 18, marking its third leadership change in six months.

“The mission of AFRL is extremely important to our nation’s future,” Pringle said. “I look forward to learning about your goals and, most importantly, helping you succeed.”

She previously worked as Air Force director of strategic plans and held a similar position at Air Force Materiel Command. She ran the 502nd Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, and was deputy commander of the 377th Air Base Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., among other finance, materiel, and advising assignments.

Pringle follows Brig. Gen. Evan Dertien, who has served as the lab’s top officer since January. He replaced Maj. Gen. William Cooley, who was abruptly fired Jan. 15 as the Air Force Office of Special Investigations opened an inquiry into misconduct allegations. Cooley had held the post since May 2017 but was reassigned as special assistant to AFMC boss Gen. Arnold Bunch.

Dertien is returning to his former job as AFMC’s air, space, and cyberspace operations director.

AFRL spans more than 10,000 Airmen, civilians, and contractors and wields a $6.3 billion science and technology budget, according to the Air Force. Pringle is the second woman to run the service lab, after now-retired Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski.