Air Vice Marshal James Meraba Gbum was appointed Chief of Policy and Plans (COPP) in 2015. Until his recent appointment, he was the Air Officer Commanding Tactical Air Command, Makurdi, and had before then held the COPP appointment. He once served as the Chief Coordinator Inter Agency Task Force for Disarmament of Niger Delta Militants, Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence at the Defence Intelligence Agency (Abuja), and Director of Research and Development Headquarters Nigerian Air Force. His other appointments include Commander 75 Strike Group Yola, Director National Military Strategy at the National Defence College, Abuja and Flight International Liaison Officer at the Presidential Air Fleet Abuja. Professional training courses attended by the senior officer include National Defence Course at the Korea National Defence University Seoul, Senior Staff Course and Junior Division Course (Jaji Nigeria). As a fighter pilot, AVM Gbum attended the Alpha Jet Weapons and Fighter Pilot Course at Fursten Fedbruk- Germany, MiG-21 Fighter Conversion Course at 64 Air Defence Group Makurdi, and Instructor Pilot Course at 301 Flying Training School Kaduna, Nigeria where he had his primary flying training. Gbum enlisted into the Nigerian Air Force on 12 Mar 1979 as a member of Cadet Military Training Course 4.