HONOLULU — Rear Adm. Donna Cottrell relieved Rear Adm. Keith Smith as director of Joint Interagency Task Force West during a change of command ceremony at Camp Smith on Oahu, Friday.
Cottrell is a native of Wellington, Ohio, and graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1982; from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1997 with a Master of Science degree in aeronautical science; from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 2004 with a Master of Science degree in information resource management; and from the U. S. Naval War College in 2011 with a Master of Arts degree in national security and strategic studies.
Her previous field assignments include commanding officer Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron in Jacksonville, Florida, commanding officer of Air Station Savannah, Georgia, executive officer at Air Station Detroit, air operations officer at Group-Air Station Atlantic City, New Jersey, and administration officer at Air Station Chicago. Cottrell was also assigned to the Navy Helicopter Training Squadron Eight at NAS Whiting Field, Florida, where she served as a TH-57 helicopter flight instructor. She has acquired over 3500 flight hours in four different models of the HH-65 and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter.
Her previous staff tours include serving as the Coast Guard 13th District chief of staff where she directed Coast Guard field and staff activities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, assignment to the Aircraft Repair and Supply Center in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, where she was chief of the Information Systems Division and directly responsible for all Information Technology support for Coast Guard Aviation and project manager of the Coast Guard Academy Task Force as a key player in evaluating the governance, leadership training, and character development at the Academy.
Prior to Officer Candidate School in 1987, Cottrell served as a boatswain’s mate and aviation electrical technician. After her commission, she served as a Deck Watch Officer aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast.
Smith, a native of Cypress, California, is headed to the Coast Guard’s Force Readiness Command in Norfolk, Virginia.
Prior to assuming command of JIATF West, he served as the Coast Guard Atlantic Area chief of staff, where he oversaw a staff that supported all U.S. Coast Guard missions from the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf, spanning five Coast Guard Districts, and 40 states. His previous assignments include chief of response and chief of incident management at the Coast Guard’s 5th District in Portsmouth, Virginia, chief of the tactical intelligence section at JIATF East, commanding officer of Tactical Law Enforcement Team North, deputy group commander in St. Petersburg, Florida, and plank owner commanding officer for Maritime Safety and Security Team Los Angeles/Long Beach. Smith also served as deputy operations officer for the Deployable Operations Group and commanding officer of the Maritime Security Response Team, the Coast Guard’s only counter terrorism unit.
A standing Joint Task Force, JIATF West is the U.S. Pacific Command’s executive agent for planning, integrating, synchronizing, conducting, and assessing Department of Defense counterdrug activities in order to shape the theater and disrupt transnational criminal organizations that threaten U.S. interests in the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility.