Former AF Y2K head turns down promotion, will retire

Former AF Y2K head turns down promotion, will retire

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

When the Air Force in February offered its year 2000 readiness director a second star, he said, 'Thanks, but no thanks.'

Brig. Gen. Gary A. Ambrose, although selected to become a major general, is retiring July 21 after 27 years in the service. He said that family considerations had led him to make the decision in January, before the Air Force rank selection board had issued its intention to promote him.

Ambrose said he was honored to be offered a second star. 'It was a real vote of confidence,' he said.

Brig. Gen. Gary A. Ambrose says he will seek another IT job.

Ambrose took over the job of director of the Air Force's Year 2000 Program in November 1998. Following the successful rollover, the service in March named him the Air Force headquarters' assistant director for communications and information.

Rather than replace him, the service will eliminate his job, and Brig. Gen. Anthony 'Bud' W. Bell Jr., vice commander for the Air Force Communications and Information Center, will take over Ambrose's responsibilities.

A pilot with more than 2,500 flight hours, Ambrose spent five tours commanding wing units for the Air Force, including four years as a B-52 co-pilot and aircraft commander for the 51st Bomb Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., from 1978 to 1982, and four years as commander for the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., from 1996 to 1998.

During his final two assignments with the headquarters staff, Ambrose said, he learned how extensively technology had become integrated in the Defense Department's warfighting and administrative processes.

As a result of the compilation of a list of the service's key systems for the year 2000 effort, 'we're taking a hard look at how we're using information technology,' he said.

To prepare the Air Force's systems to handle four-digit date codes, Ambrose worked closely with the Standard Systems Group at Gunter Annex-Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

The group develops software for the service's large systems and runs the Fusion Center, which lets systems specialists communicate with each Air Force help desk and monitor bases' networks down to the server.

Ambrose said that after his retirement he would explore other IT opportunities.

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