MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala --
Brig. Gen. Christopher J. Niemi took command of the Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development in a ceremony officiated by Lt. Gen. Anthony J. Cotton, commander and president of Air University, August 23 at the Maxwell Club on Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
As head of the Air Force’s largest officer accessioning source, Niemi leads more than 3,200 Airmen and is responsible for the training and development of 163,000 cadets at 2,140 global locations.
Cotton thanked the outgoing commander, Brig. Gen. Billy D. Thompson, who had helped change and streamline many training aspects of the officer accessioning system.
“You have been an exceptional leader, mentor and commander to all of us,” said Cotton. “You have left your mark on the Holm Center and you have paved the way for the Holm Center to continue to produce the best officers in the world.”
Cotton welcomed Niemi, commenting on the one star’s success across his career.
“You have just left one of the most diverse flying units in Elmendorf, you have a diverse flying background, and you now will be charged with leading a unit that is growing a diverse officer corps,” said Cotton. “Your mission is to build leaders and I’m confident that with your senior leadership team and cadre of highly capable faculty you’ll not only accomplish this mission but exceed the demand of this mission.”
After taking command, Niemi shared the thrill of flying, to include the hours flying in the F-15 and F-22, but there came a moment when he realized his passion for leadership.
“It took a while, longer than for many of you, to realize that there was something even more interesting, more worthy that was lurking just beyond the edge of my consciousness,” said Niemi. “Over the time I’ve realized the deep and lasting satisfaction, not from the thrill of flying but from the leadership opportunities afforded to me by the Air Force.”
Niemi’s new command includes 16,700 Air Force ROTC cadets at 1,250 colleges and universities nationwide and 3,300 cadets annually in Air Force Officer Training School at Maxwell AFB. Additionally, the Holm Center oversees Air Force Junior ROTC, a citizen development program with more than 143,000 cadets in 890 high schools worldwide.