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711th Human Performance Wing welcomes new commander

Brig. Gen. (Dr.) James H. Dienst assumed command of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing June 21 in a change of command ceremony at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. (U.S. Air Force photo/courtesy photo)

Brig. Gen. (Dr.) James H. Dienst assumed command of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing June 21, 2019, in a change of command ceremony at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. (U.S. Air Force photo/courtesy photo)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Brig. Gen. (Dr.) James H. Dienst assumed command of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing June 21, 2019, in a change of command ceremony at the National Museum of the United States Air Force here.

“I’m very excited about leading the 711th Human Performance Wing in AFRL,” Dienst said. “We have an opportunity to build, pull together our teams, and really focus on pure human performance research, while also looking over the horizon to see what’s coming next.”

Dienst, an optometrist, leaves his role as commander of the AF Medical Operations Agency at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, where he oversaw the execution of AF Surgeon General policies supporting AF expeditionary capabilities, healthcare operations, and national security strategies. He also led consultative support for more than 44,000 personnel and 76 military treatment facilities. Further, he served as chief of the biomedical sciences corps, where he oversaw the professional force development and worldwide utilization of more than 2,400 officers. Prior to his role as AFMOA commander, Dienst served as the Education and Training director of the Defense Health Agency at the Defense Health Headquarters in Washington D.C.

Dienst, the first non-physician to lead the wing, explained that his earlier role as a provider, as well as the many opportunities he’s had to be involved in wartime and operational planning, have folded into a wealth of knowledge he will use to lead the wing.

As 711HPW commander, Dienst will lead a diverse workforce of military, civilian and contractor personnel encompassing 75 occupational specialties including science and engineering, occupational health and safety, medical professions, technicians, educators, business operations and support. The wing’s mission is to advance human performance and integration for air, space and cyberspace through research, education, consultation and operational support. The wing is comprised of the Airman Systems Directorate, the Human Systems Integration Directorate and the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine.

Department of Defense leadership has continued to emphasize the need for an increase in lethality for warfighters, and Dienst expressed his plan to help the human performance team “reset and refocus” research efforts to align with this need.

“I am definitely looking forward to helping take the 711th Human Performance Wing to the next level,” he said.

The outgoing 711HPW commander, Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Mark A. Koeniger, has been assigned to take command of the AF Medical Readiness Agency at the Defense Health Headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia.

About AFRL

The Air Force Research Laboratory is the primary scientific research and development center for the United States Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,000 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit: www.afresearchlab.com.