Col. Kouji P. Gillis is the commander, 637th Training Group, and Commandant, Defense Language Institute English Language Center (DLIELC), Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The 637th TRG consists of three squadrons executing the Department of Defense English language training program. He oversees an on-campus program for military and civilian leaders from over 110 countries annually and at over 30 nonresident locations around the world as the Gateway to America for all its international students. DLIELC also provides a comprehensive American cultural immersion experience through a program of excursions and community interactive projects.
Prior to assuming his current position, Colonel Gillis was the Director of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance for Fifth Air Force (5 AF/A2) where he conducted joint and bilateral intelligence planning and engagements to defend Japan, strengthen bilateral interoperability, and respond to regional contingencies. He served as the Senior Intelligence Officer for U.S. Air Force forces in Japan.
Colonel Gillis received his commission in 1997 through the University of Central Florida Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program. He grew up in Shinjuku and Yokosuka, Japan, and is a certified Foreign Area Officer with a focus on Northeast Asia. Colonel Gillis has spent most of his career as a Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance mission crew operator serving twice with E-8C JSTARS, RC-135V/W RIVET JOINT and on exchange with the Royal Air Force (RAF) SENTINEL R-1. He has over 2,600 hours on the E-8C, Sentinel R-1, Nimrod R-1 and RC-135 V/W.
1997 Bachelor of Science, University of Central Florida
2001 SAF/IA Language Area Specialized Immersion, Beijing, China
2004 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2006 Air Command and Staff College (by correspondence)
2009 Master of Aeronautical Science, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
2010 Master of Arts, National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif.
2012 Master of Philosophy, Military Strategy, School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2013 Air War College (by correspondence)
2016 Japan National Institute for Defense Studies, Tokyo, Japan
Jan – Sep 1998, Student, USAF Intelligence Officer Course, Goodfellow AFB, Texas
Sep 1998 – Jun 2001, Chief of Bilateral Intelligence Plans and Programs, 5th Air Force, Yokota AB, Japan
Jun 2001 – Dec 2001, Student, E-8C JSTARS Formal Training Unit, 93rd Training Squadron, Robins AFB, Ga.
Jan 2002 – Aug 2004, Flight Commander and Evaluator/Instructor, 330th Combat Training Squadron, Robins AFB, Ga.
Aug 2004 – Aug 2007, RAF Sentinel R-1 ASTOR (Airborne Stand-off Radar) Exchange Officer, RAF Waddington, United Kingdom
Aug 2007 – May 2008, Chief, Intelligence, 16th Airborne Command and Control Squadron, Robins AFB, Ga.
Jun 2008 – Aug 2009, Assistant Director of Operations, 116th Operations Support Squadron, Robins AFB, Ga.
Sep 2009 – Dec 2010, IDE Student, National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif.
Jan 2011 – Jun 2011, Director, Plans and Programs, 517th Training Group, Monterey, Calif.
Jul 2011 – Jun 2012, Student, School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
Jun 2012 – Jun 2013, Director, Commander’s Action Group/Lead Strategist, NATO-Air Training Command-Afghanistan
Aug 2013 – Jul 2015, Commander 390th Intelligence Squadron, Kadena AB, Japan
Aug 2015 – Jun 2016, SDE Student, Japan National Institute for Defense Studies, Tokyo, Japan
Jul 2016 – Jun 2018, Deputy Chief, International Affairs Division, HQ Pacific Air Forces, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii
Jul 2018 – July 2019, Director, Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance, 5th Air Force, Yokota AB, Japan
Jul 2019 – Present, Commander, 637th Training Group, Commandant, Defense Language Institute English Language Center, JBSA-Lackland, Texas
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters
AF Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant 1997
First Lieutenant 1999
Lieutenant Colonel 2012
(Current as of July 2019)