Retired Sep. 1, 1983.
Major General Jasper A. Welch Jr. is assistant deputy chief of staff for research, development and acquisition, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
General Welch was born Jan. 5, 1931, in Baton Rouge, La., and graduated from University High School. He earned a bachelor of science degree in physics, magna cum laude, from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, in 1952. He earned a master of science degree in 1954 and a doctorate in physics in 1958 from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a distinguished military graduate of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program at Louisiana State University and commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Regular Air Force in May 1952. General Welch is also a distinguished graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
His first assignment was in August 1952 with the Armed Forces Special Weapons program at Sandia Base, N.M., as a student and then instructor in the early atomic energy program. From September 1953 to June 1954, he attended the University of California, Berkeley, under the Air Force Institute of Technology program.
After a short tour of duty at the Air Force Special Weapons Center at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., General Welch was assigned in November 1954 to the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory of the Atomic Energy Commission at Livermore, Calif. He led an experimental nuclear weapon design team which developed the basic design concept still used in most operational systems. While assigned to Livermore Laboratory he completed his doctoral studies under Nobel laureate Luis W. Alvarez.
He returned to the Air Force Special Weapons Center in September 1957 as chief of the Theoretical Physics Branch and scientific adviser to the director of research. For the next five post-Sputnik years, he led a team to determine the effects of nuclear weapons detonated in the upper reaches of the atmosphere and in space. During this period General Welch was invited to present the results of his pioneering scientific research in space physics to the National Academy of Sciences and several international symposia. In August 1962 he was assigned to the RAND Corporation where he was involved with the strategic and politico-military implications of ballistic missiles and space systems.
In January 1963 General Welch was assigned to Headquarters Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Md. During 1963 he served as a member of the politico-military staff of Project Forecast, a major assessment of the future of the Air Force. In 1964 he was the Air Force member of a team appointed by the secretary of Defense to oversee the first systematic analysis of resource allocation among strategic offensive and defensive forces. He moved to the West Coast Study Facility of Air Force Systems Command at Los Angeles in July 1965. There he directed studies that led to the initiation of more than a dozen major Air Force programs, including the modern cruise missiles.
In August 1968 he entered the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Following graduation in July 1969 he transferred to Air Force headquarters as chief military analyst for the assistant chief of staff for studies and analysis.
From 1962 to 1969, General Welch was also a consultant to private industry on the peaceful uses of nuclear explosions for the production of petroleum. He served as a consultant to the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, Defense Science Board, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Advisory Group on Aerospace Research and Development, and the President's Science Advisory Committee. He is author or co-author of many published technical reports, studies, journal articles and a book, "The Atomic Theory of Gas Dynamics." He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Physical Society, the American Geophysical Union and the Council on Foreign Relations.
He was assigned to the Office of the Secretary of Defense in September 1971 and served as assistant director of defense research and engineering for strategic systems review and analysis. In 1972 General Welch become staff director of a high-level panel appointed by the secretary of Defense to examine certain key aspects of strategic policy. He served for a brief period in 1973 as special assistant to the deputy chief of staff, research and development at Headquarters U.S. Air Force.
The general resumed his work on strategic policy in August 1973 as special assistant to the assistant to the secretary of Defense for atomic energy. In October 1974 he returned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as assistant for strategic initiatives to the deputy chief of staff for plans and operations. In September 1975 General Welch began a four-year tour of duty as assistant chief of staff for studies and analysis, also at Air Force headquarters.
In November 1979 he became defense policy coordinator for the National Security Council. After a short assignment as special assistant to the chief of staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, General Welch assumed his present duties in June 1981.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon.
He was promoted to major general Feb. 6, 1976, with date of rank June 16, 1973.