Brig. Gen. D. Jason Cothern

WASHINGTON — Brig. Gen. D. Jason Cothern, the assistant program director for development at the F-35 Lighting II Joint Program Office has been named vice commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, the chief of space operations for the U.S. Space Force Gen. John Raymond announced Feb. 13.

Cothern replaces Brig. Gen. Donna Shipton, who will become director of strategic plans, programs, requirements and analyses at the Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Since June 2017, Cothern was responsible for F-35 fighter modernization activities. But much of his career was focused on space. He served as the director of the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program and the Air Force’s Hosted Payloads Office. As STP director he also led the Rocket Systems Launch Program, where he was mission director for the DoD’s first SpaceX Falcon 9 launch that flew NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration DSCOVR satellite in February 2015.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...