Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, was arrested Sunday in Arlington, Va., after he allegedly grabbed the woman's breasts and buttocks, USA Today reported.
When he tried to grope her again, the woman fought him off and called police.
Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said the woman did not know Krusinski.
Details of where the incident took place were not reported.
Krusinski, who since February had headed the Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response branch at the Pentagon, was removed from his job while the case is investigated, Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. John Dorrian said.
"When I saw this it made me literally sick to my stomach," Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., told the newspaper. "How many more reasons do we need to take cases of rape and sexual assault out of the chain of command?"
More than 30 Air Force instructors have been charged with sexually abusing trainees at the entry-level training facility at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.