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Chief of the Joint Staff, Brig. Gen. Brian R. Copes

BG Brian R. CopesBrigadier General Brian R. Copes serves as Director of Joint Staff, Indiana National Guard. He is the principal senior staff officer and policy advisor on Army, Air and Joint matters for The Adjutant General of Indiana on a daily basis. He carries the responsibility for translating guidance and intent into actionable plans for the Joint Force Headquarters Staff, Army Major Commands and Air Wings comprising the over 14,000 Soldiers and Airmen of the Indiana National Guard. General Copes orchestrates the integrated joint staff of the fourth-largest Army National Guard and sixth-largest combined Army-Air Guard State in generating individual and collective readiness, sustaining performance and enhancing the reputation of the Indiana National Guard. General Copes oversees the planning, programming, budgeting and execution of a $350-400 million annual budget.

General Copes was commissioned in 1983 from the United States Army Officer Candidate School, Fort Benning, Georgia. In 2009, he commanded the first of seven Indiana Agribusiness Development Teams deployed to Khowst Province, Afghanistan. During the 2005 Hurricane Katrina no-notice response mission, he served as Chief of Staff, 38th Infantry Division acting as Joint Task Force Cyclone headquartered in Biloxi-Gulfport, Mississippi with command and control of over 14,000 Army and Air Guard personnel from 34 States. During the 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team 2000 Joint Readiness Training Center rotation, then Major Copes served as the 38th Aviation Brigade Task Force S-3 organizing and employing a 9-state, 14-unit, 32-helicopter task force. He has served in multiple division-level Battle Command Training Program (Warfighter) exercises serving in 2007 as Chief of Staff, 38th Division and in 2001 as G-3, 38th Division. In 1996, he commanded a small aviation task force in Savannah, Georgia supporting 22 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies during the Centennial Olympic Games. General Copes has over 1,700 flight hours in UH-1H and OH-58 helicopters, was a qualified and practicing UH-1 Instructor Pilot, and served in operational flying positions for 17 years.

General Copes enlisted as a Private in 1977 serving as a helicopter mechanic and achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant (E-6) prior to his commissioning. He attended both Basic and Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Courses.


  • 1989 Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis, Associate Degree, General Studies, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1993 Indiana Wesleyan University, Bachelor of Science, Management, Marion, Indiana
  • 1997 Indiana Wesleyan University, Master of Science, Management, Marion, Indiana
  • 2005 United States Army War College, Master of Science, Strategic Studies, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
  • 2005 United States Army War College, by correspondence
  • 2012 Dual-Status Commander Course, United States Northern Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado
  • October 1983 - May 1986, Section Leader, Company A, 38th Aviation Battalion (Combat), Shelbyville, Indiana
  • June 1986 - September 1986, Platoon Leader, Company A, 38th Aviation Battalion (Combat), Shelbyville, Indiana
  • October 1986 - September 1987, Platoon Leader, 38th Aviation Company, Shelbyville, Indiana
  • October 1987 - April 1989, Troop Commander, Troop D, 1st Battalion, 238th Cavalry, Shelbyville, Indiana
  • May 1989 - September 1990, Operations Officer, Company D, 2nd Battalion, 238th Aviation, Shelbyville, Indiana
  • October 1990 - January 1991, Commander, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 238th Aviation, Shelbyville, Indiana
  • February 1991 - April 1995, S-3 Air, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 38th Aviation Brigade, Shelbyville, Indiana
  • May 1995 - September 1998, S-2, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 38th Aviation Brigade, Shelbyville, Indiana
  • October 1998 - September 2000, S-3, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 38th Aviation Brigade, Shelbyville, Indiana
  • September 2000 - May 2003, G-3, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 38th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Indianapolis, Indiana
  • June 2003 - October 2003, Deputy Chief of Staff Operations, Headquarters, State Area Command Indianapolis, Indiana
  • November 2003 - February 2007, Chief of Staff, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 38th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Indianapolis, Indiana
  • February 2007 - June 2008, Chief of Staff, Indiana Joint Forces Headquarters, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • July 2008 - October 2008, Senior Mentor, Indiana Joint Force Headquarters, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • October 2008 - January 2009, Commander, Indiana Joint Force Headquarters, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • January 2009 - January 2010, Commander, Agribusiness Development Team, Forward Operating Base Salerno, Khost Providence, Afghanistan
  • January 2010 - November 2011, Chief of Staff, Indiana Joint Force Headquarters, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • December 2011 - Present, Director of Joint Staff, Indiana Joint Force Headquarters, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Legion of Merit
  • Bronze Star Medal
  • Meritorious Service Medal (with 1 Silver Oak Leaf Cluster)
  • Army Commendation Medal (with 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster)
  • Army Achievement Medal (with 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster)
  • Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal (with 1 Silver Oak Leaf Cluster and 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters)
  • National Defense Service Medal (with 1 Bronze Service Star)
  • Afghanistan Campaign Medal (with 1 Bronze Service Star)
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • Humanitarian Service Medal
  • Armed Forces Reserve Medal (with Gold Hourglass and M Device)
  • Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (with Numeral 3)
  • Army Service Ribbon
  • Overseas Service Ribbon
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal
  • Indiana Distinguished Service Medal (with 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster) 
  • Indiana Commendation Medal (with 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster) 
  • Indiana Long Service Medal (with 30 Year Device) 
  • Indiana Emergency Service Ribbon (with 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster) 
  • Indiana Overseas Service Ribbon (with Numeral 2) 
  • Indiana Outside Continental United States Ribbon (with 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster)
  • Indiana Recruiting Ribbon
  • Indiana Retention Ribbon
  • Georgia Olympic Service Ribbon
  • Mississippi Emergency Service Ribbon 
  • Mississippi Magnolia Medal
  • Joint Meritorious Unit Award
  • Army Meritorious Unit Commendation
  • Indiana Military Volunteer Emblem
  • Combat Action Badge
  • Aircraft Crewman Badge
  • Senior Army Aviator Badge
  • National Guard Association of the United States
  • National Guard Association of Indiana
  • Association of the United States Army
  • American Legion
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars

Other Achievements

  • 1982 Indianapolis Star News Military Achievement Award
  • 1993 Indiana Wesleyan University Outstanding Professional Award
  • 1997 Indiana Wesleyan University Outstanding Professional Award
  • 2004 Order of Saint Maurice (National Infantry Association)
  • 2006 Indiana Wesleyan University Distinguished Alumni Award
  • 2011 Indiana Wesleyan University Outstanding Achievement Award
  • Second Lieutenant - Army National Guard - Oct. 18, 1983
  • First Lieutenant - Army National Guard -  Oct. 17, 1986
  • Captain - Army National Guard - Jan. 12,  1989
  • Major - Army National Guard - Oct. 17, 1995
  • Lieutenant Colonel - Army National Guard - Jan. 31, 2001
  • Colonel - Army National Guard - Jul. 26, 2004
  • Brigadier General - Army National Guard - May 1, 2012

Printable Version

BG Brian R. Copes - Bio.pdf

(Current as of June 2013)

The date of publication indicated on this biography reflects the most recent update. It does not necessarily reflect the date of printing.