Biden Nominates New Commanders for AFMC, AETC

The Air Force is poised to have two new heads of major commands, as President Joe Biden nominated Lt. Gen. Duke Z. Richardson to receive a fourth star and lead Air Force Materiel Command and Lt. Gen. Brian S. Robinson to take over Air Education and Training Command.

Richardson currently serves as the service’s uniformed acquisition chief—the military deputy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for acquisition, technology, and logistics. His nomination signals that AFMC’s current commander, Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., is slated to leave the job soon; Bunch has led Air Force Materiel Command since May 2019.

As commander of AFMC, Richardson would oversee installation and mission support, discovery and development, test and evaluation, life cycle management services, and sustainment. He would come into the job with a long history in acquisition.

In his 39 years in uniform, Richardson has observed five major changes, he remarked at a recent conference—higher quality threats, a need for interoperability, changes to the workforce, software-defined hardware, and accelerating change.

Robinson, meanwhile, currently serves as deputy commander of Air Mobility Command. He has also served as director of operations at U.S. Transportation Command. If confirmed, he would replace Lt. Gen. Marshall B. “Brad” Webb, who took on the job in July 2019.

Richardson and Robinson’s nominations were received in the Senate on April 4 and referred to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

In addition to Richardson and Robinson, the Air Force also announced a slate of nominations shuffling several key positions in the Pentagon.

  • Lt. Gen. David S. Nahom, the service’s deputy chief of staff for plans and programs, is being nominated to take over as the commander of U.S. Northern Command’s Alaskan Command, as well as commander of the Eleventh Air Force and NORAD’s Alaskan region.
  • Lt. Gen. Mary F. O’Brien, who serves as the deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and cyber effects operations, is nominated to be Chief Information Officer for the Joint Staff and the director for command, control, communications, and computers/cyber.
  • And Lt. Gen. Tom D. Miller, the current commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center, is nominated to be deputy chief of staff for logistics, engineering, and force protection.

Meanwhile, three major generals have been nominated for a third star and a new position.

  • Maj. Gen. Leonard J. Kosinski, deputy commander of the Fifth Air Force, is slated to be director of logistics for the Joint Staff.
  • Maj. Gen. John D. Lamontagne, chief of staff for U.S. European Command, has been tapped to be deputy commander for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa.
  • Maj. Gen. Randall Reed, commander of the Third Air Force, has been nominated to replace Robinson as deputy commander of AMC.