Col. Ariel Batungbacal is the Commander, National Air and Space Intelligence Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. She is responsible for operating the $2.1 billion center with its four groups, four directorates and 16 squadrons. Managing an annual budget of more than $570 million, she leads nearly 3,500 personnel providing a broad range of integrated, tailored assessments, products and services to joint operational forces, national policymakers and the acquisition community.
Col. Batungbacal earned her commission from the University of Maryland at College Park. As a career intelligence officer, her assignments have spanned the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. In 2012, she was appointed a White House Fellow and placed with the Secretary of Labor. She worked with the White House, Department of Veteran Affairs, and the Department of Defense to establish the U.S. Department of Labor’s first-ever women veterans employment program.
As commander of the 450th Intelligence Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, she led intelligence operations across three combatant commands, overseeing cryptologic and fusion analysis, and the operational support for the Distributed Ground System-4 weapon system. Under her command, the 450th was awarded the Air Force General George C. Kenney Award and the 480th Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing Unit of the Year. Col. Batungbacal deployed in support of contingency operations, to include Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Freedom’s Sentinel, and Inherent Resolve.
Prior to assuming her current position, Col. Batungbacal was the Commander, Air and Cyberspace Intelligence Group, National Air and Space Intelligence Center Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. In this role, she managed an annual budget of $59.1 million, and led six squadrons and 562 personnel in the production of original intelligence assessments of foreign air systems, electronics, directed energy, integrated air defense, and cyberspace systems.
2001 Bachelor of Arts, Chinese, University of Maryland at College Park, Md.
2001 Bachelor of Arts, Government/Politics, University of Maryland at College Park, Md.
2001 Advanced Certificate in Multi-Track Diplomacy, Center for International Development & Conflict Management,
University of Maryland at College Park, Md.
2005 Master of Diplomacy, Norwich University, Vt.
2007 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2012 Executive Masters in Leadership, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
2012 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
2013 White House Fellow, Washington, D.C.
2014 Air War College, by correspondence
2018 Master of Science, National Security Strategy, National War College, Washington, D.C.
1. May 2001 – September 2002, student, Intelligence Officer Applications Course, Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas
2. September 2002 – October 2003, Chief, Combat Plans, 607th Air Intelligence Squadron, Osan Air Base, Korea
3. October 2003 – July 2004, Deputy Chief, Intelligence Weapons & Tactics, 31st OSS, Aviano AB, Italy
4. July 2004 August 2005, Chief of Intelligence, 555th Fighter Squadron, Aviano AB, Italy (August 2005 – January 2006, Chief of Intelligence, 555th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Balad AB, Iraq)
5. April 2006 – June 2010, Chief, Intelligence Operations, Space & Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB, Calif. (May 2007 – November 2007, Analyst, Joint Task Force, Balad AB, Iraq) (April 2009 – April 2010, Deputy Chief, ISR Operations Team, 609th Air Operations Center, Qatar)
6. June 2010 – March 2012, Joint Staff J2 Branch Chief, Middle East Strategy, the Joint Staff, Washington D.C.
7. March 2012 – August 2012, Deputy Executive Assistant to Director of Intelligence, the Joint Staff, Washington D.C.
8. August 2012 – September 2013, White House Fellow, Washington, D.C.
9. September 2013 – December 2013, Director of Operations, 361st ISR Group, Hurlburt Field, Fla.
10. December 2013 – June 2015, Director of Operations, 25th IS, Hurlburt Field, Fla. (October 2014 – January 2014, Detachment Commander, Detachment 1, Bagram AB, Afghanistan)
11. June 2015 – June 2017, Commander, 450th IS, Ramstein AB, Germany
12. July 2017 – June 2018, Student, National War College, Washington, D.C.
13. June 2018 – June 2020, Military Assistant to Assistant Secretary for Policy of International Security Affairs, Office of Secretary of Defense, Pentagon, Washington D.C.
14. July 2020 – June 2022, Commander, Air and Cyberspace Intelligence Group, National Air and Space Intelligence Center, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
15. June 2022 – Present, Commander, National Air and Space Intelligence Center, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS [OFFICER ONLY]
1. June 2010 – March 2012, Joint Staff J2 Branch Chief, Middle East Strategy, the Joint Staff, Washington D.C., as a major
2. March 2012 – August 2012, Deputy Executive Assistant to Director of Intelligence, the Joint Staff, Washington D.C., as a major
3. June 2018 – June 2020, Military Assistant to Assistant Secretary for Policy of International Security Affairs, Office of Secretary of Defense, Washington D.C., as a colonel
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Joint Service Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air and Space Commendation Medal
Air and Space Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster
2007 Air Force Space Command Company Grade Officer of the Year
2011 Office of the Director of National Intelligence - National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation
2013 Secretary of Labor Exceptional Service Award
2014 25th Air Force Field Grade Officer of the Year
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant May 25, 2001
First Lieutenant May 1, 2003
Captain May 1, 2005
Major June 1, 2011
Lieutenant Colonel Feb. 1, 2015
Colonel June 7, 2018
(current as of February 2023)