U.S. Air Force Maj.Gen.William K. James was director of the Defense Mapping Agency between June 1990 and June 1993. Under his leadership, DMA – a heritage organization of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency – went from producing products to meet the requirements of the Cold War to a concept of a Global Geospatial Information System (GGIS) directly accessible to combat commanders of the Rapid Deployment Forces. The GGIS was a major paradigm shift in warfare with the delivery of geographic information to fast-moving military forces.
Commissioned into the U.S. Air Force through the Reserve Officers Training Corps program, James received his pilot wings in July 1959. During his military career he totaled almost 6,500 flying hours and 180 combat missions in Vietnam. He retired July 1, 1993.