Lieutenant Colonel Paul J. Bernards

Lieutenant Colonel Paul J. Bernards is currently serving as the Commander of the 637th International Support Squadron at the Defense Language Institute English Language Center at JBSA-Lackland, Texas. He has command and control of the International Military Student Office, Defense English Language Program case management, registrar, graduation and records administration, and health, morale, and welfare support to resident Department of Defense Security Cooperation Program international military and civilian students from over 110 countries. He also has oversight of the International Field Studies Flight and the International Non-Resident Flight. The IFF gives IMS an understanding of American culture, free enterprise, government, and basic human rights. The INF supports in-country English language training programs designed to produce English language-qualified personnel to support U.S. Security Cooperation objectives.

Prior to his current assignment, he served as Acting Director of Security Assistance in the Office of Defense Partnership at the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.


Lt Col Bernards entered the Air Force in 2006 as a graduate of the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Utah State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.  A distinguished graduate of Undergraduate Pilot Training, he has flown the C-17 in two operational assignments and three deployments where his experience has encompassed a variety of squadron-level positions including Chief Pilot Scheduler and Readiness Assistant Flight Commander, 16th Airlift Squadron; and Chief of Operations, Training Flight Commander, and Deputy Chief of Standards and Evaluations, 6th Airlift Squadron.  He is a senior pilot with more than 2,500 flying hours, including 948 hours of combat time in support of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.


Since being selected to the Foreign Area Officer (FAO) program, Lt Col Bernards has completed an Associate of Arts in Arabic at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center and a Master of Arts in Security Studies with an emphasis in the Middle East at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California. During his initial FAO assignment as a security cooperation officer in the United Arab Emirates, he directly managed 26 UAE Air Force foreign military sales (FMS) cases valued at over $3 billion. For the past two years, as acting Director of Security Assistance, he oversaw the 6th largest FMS portfolio in the world, with 118 FMS cases valued at $29.5 billion.




Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Cum Laude, Utah State University, Logan, UT


Air and Space Basic Course, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL


Master of Business Administration, Liberty University


Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL


Associate of Arts in Arabic, Defense Language Institute, Monterey, CA


Master of Arts in Security Studies in the Middle East, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA



Jun 2006 – Feb 2007, Assistant Standards and Evaluations Liaison Officer, 4th Fighter Squadron,  Hill Air Force Base, UT

Feb 2007 – Aug 2009, Student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Laughlin Air Force Base, TX

Aug 2009 – Apr 2010, Student, F-16 Initial Training, Luke Air Force Base, AZ

Apr 2010 – Jul 2010, Student, C-17 Pilot Initial Qualification, Altus Air Force Base, OK

Aug 2010 – Sep 2012, C-17 Pilot, Chief Pilot Scheduler, 16th Airlift Squadron, Joint Base Charleston, SC

Sep 2011 – Aug 2013, Aircraft Commander, Readiness Assistant Flight Commander, 16th Airlift Squadron, Joint Base Charleston, SC

Aug 2013 – Mar 2014, Chief of Current Operations, 6th Airlift Squadron, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst,NJ

Mar 2014 – Jun 2015, C-17 Instructor Pilot, Training Flight Commander, 6th Airlift Squadron, Joint  Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ


Mar 2016 – Dec 2017, Arabic Basic Course Student, Defense Language Institute, Presidio of Monterey, CA

Jan 2018 – Jun 2019, Student, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

Jul 2019 – Aug 2020, Foreign Military Sales Program Officer, Office of Defense Partnership, U.S Embassy, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Aug 2020 – Jun 2022, Acting Director of Security Assistance, Office of Defense Partnership, U.S. Embassy, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Jun 2022 – Present, Commander, 637th International Support Squadron, Commandant of Troops, Defense Language Institute English Language Center, Joint Base San Antonio—Lackland, TX



Rating: Senior Pilot

Flight Hours: More than 2,500 Aircraft Flown: T-6, T-38, F-16, C-17



Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters Joint Service Commendation Medal

Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster Joint Service Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster Air Force Achievement Medal



Second Lieutenant          5 May 2006

First Lieutenant               31 May 2008

Captain                         31 May 2010

Major                            1 August 2017

Lieutenant Colonel        1 February 2020







(Current as of July 2022)