Atkins will assume his new duties Jan. 3, after his retirement as commander of Alaskan Command, Alaska NORAD Region, Joint Task Force Alaska, and 11th Air Force at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
“We are honored to have a man of such accomplishment, reputation and skill to become president of the Chronicle,” said William S. Morris III, the chairman and CEO of Morris Communications and publisher of The Chronicle. “He will bring to our newspaper team the superior leadership and management abilities that have distinguished his military career, and we are happy to welcome him and his family to our community.”
Atkins will replace Don Bailey, who resigned in July after holding the post for seven years.
Born in Portland, Ore., Atkins, 57, is a command pilot with more than 4,000 hours in fighter aircraft. He served as vice commander, 7th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Korea, and was special assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe during the air war over Serbia. During his career, he has flown as a demonstration pilot for both the European A-10 demonstration team and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.
“Dana will bring incredible experience and talents to our team,” said Will Morris, the president of Morris Publishing Group, which owns the Chronicle. “He will make a major contribution to our digital transformation efforts.”
In his capacity as commander Alaskan Command, Atkins has been serving as the senior military officer responsible for the integration of all military activities in the Alaskan theater of operations, governing the activities of more than 21,000 active-duty, Guard and Reserve members from all service branches. He also commands 11th Air Force and oversees the training and readiness of three wings and multiple Air Force installations located throughout the state.
As commander of the Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, Atkins directs air operations within Alaska. He is also the commander of Joint Task Force Alaska and is responsible for the planning and execution of all Homeland Defense operations within the theater, including security and civil support actions.
“My wife, Laura, and I are very much looking forward to this transition to contribute to Morris Communications and the outstanding team at The Augusta Chronicle,” Atkins said. “I recognize there are challenges on the horizon, and I’m hopeful I will bring the vision and energy to navigate The Chronicle to the forefront of the industry through innovation, creativity, commitment and professional competence.”
The general earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Portland and graduated with distinction from the Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. He earned master’s degrees in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida and in national security strategy at the National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
He and his wife have two children – a son, Geoffrey Atkins, deployed with the U.S. Air Force in Iraq, and daughter, Kristen McGuire, a teacher in Spokane, Wash.
“I am very excited about the upcoming move to Augusta to join the Morris Communications team of professionals,” Atkins said. “I’ve had the privilege of working and living in the South in the past and fondly remember the Southern hospitality that made every day a joyous and memorable experience.”
Derek May, the executive vice president of Morris Publishing Group, said, “I am thrilled to have Dana on our team. The Augusta Chronicle has been the No. 1 local source for news and information for more than 225 years, and we plan to continue that dominance in an increasingly digital world. Dana’s leadership will be invaluable as we make this transition.”