Lt. Gen. Anthony J. Cotton assumed command of Air University in a ceremony here officiated by Lt. Gen. Steve Kwast, commander of Air Education and Training Command, Feb.15.
Upon taking command of AU, Cotton also became its third president and is now responsible for Air Force professional military education and professional continuing education. Furthermore, he is accountable for officer accessioning through Air Force Officer Training School and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps as well as Air Force Junior ROTC, a citizen-development program for high school students.
“It makes me so happy to introduce and hand the flag of command over to Cotton and Marsha,” said Kwast. “If there was ever a leader who has the heart, mind, body, soul and spirit to take this fight to the next level, it is Cotton.”
Kwast, who himself led AU before assuming command of AETC in November 2017, also recognized the hard work and leadership of Maj. Gen. Michael Rothstein as acting commander and president of AU.
“Your humility, willingness to listen, willingness to learn, but most importantly, your willingness to lead has been astounding, and we all owe you a debt of gratitude,” said Kwast.
After a 17-year gap from his last time at Maxwell as an Air Command and Staff College student, Cotton said it is a very special feeling to come back and now take command of AU.
“Wow, [was my] first emotion,” said Cotton. “Any time you take command, you kind of take a step back and feel humbled and honored.”
His plan as AU’s new commander and president is all about innovation.
“I want us to take full advantage of innovation, doing things differently,” said Cotton. “Being competent in our skills and what we do internally and how do we then articulate that externally? Here’s what I used to tell my guys, ‘I want you to be compliant. If there is something that you don’t think makes sense, then change it, but be compliant when doing it.’ That’s what drives you to be innovative, and to think of ways to do things differently.”
Prior to his current assignment, Cotton served as commander, 20th Air Force, Air Force Global Strike Command, Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming.