Who’s Up For PACOM?:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is under pressure to pick an Air Force general to head US Pacific Command, a regional joint command slot that will soon be short a leader should Congress OK the shift of Adm. William Fallon to US Central Command. Likely contenders from the service’s sitting four-stars would include Gen. John Corley, vice chief of staff; Gen. Paul Hester, Pacific Air Forces; Gen. Lance Smith, Joint Forces Command; or Gen. Bruce Carlson, Air Force Materiel Command. Corley is a fighter jock with egghead and diplomatic credentials and, of particular interest to Navy heavy PACOM, a Navy War College master’s degree. Corley also is one of the youngest USAF four stars. Hester is already in the theater and knows it well, having done several fighter tours there during his career. Smith also serves as NATO Supreme Commander for Transformation and has been the No. 2 UN commander in Korea. Carlson, although pegged as an acquisition expert, has fighter credentials (A-10, F-16, and F-117) and, as chief of 8th Air Force, commanded USAF’s bombers, which have become critical to Pacific war plans.