James M. Kowalski (born October 30, 1957) was the Deputy Commander, United States Strategic Command, Offut AFB, Nebraska. His grandparents were born near Wadowice in Poland. He was responsible for organizing, training, equipping and maintaining all U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear-capable bomber forces. The command's mission is to develop and provide combat-ready forces for nuclear deterrence and global strike operations—safe, secure and effective—to support the President of the United States and combatant commanders. The command comprises more than 23,000 professionals operating at various locations around the globe. The command's six wings control the nation's entire inventory of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles (3 wings), B-2 (and B-1, 1 wing) and B-52 (2 wings) bomber aircraft.
General Kowalski entered active duty in 1980 through the ROTC program at the University of Cincinnati. He held a variety of operational commands, including a bomb squadron, an operations group, a bomb wing and an air control wing over his 35-year career. Gen Kowalski retired from active duty on 1 September 2015.
His contingency and wartime experience include command of the 2nd Operations Group when they deployed B-52s for combat during operations Noble Anvil and Allied Force, and command of the 28th Bomb Wing when they deployed B-1Bs for Operation Iraqi Freedom. From January 2003 to May 2003, General Kowalski commanded the 405th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia where he led a combined wing of B-1Bs, E-3s and KC-135s to provide strike, battle management, and air refueling for operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Southern Watch. His previous staff assignments include Headquarters Air Combat Command, Headquarters U.S. Air Force and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Prior to his current assignment, he served as Commander, Air Force Global Strike Command.