Biden Nominates First Commander for Space Systems Command, New Boss at AMC

President Joe Biden has nominated new commanders for the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command and the Space Force’s Space Systems Command.

Lt. Gen. Mike Minihan has been tapped for a fourth star and to replace Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost as head of AMC. Minihan currently serves as the deputy commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii. He is a command pilot with more than 3,400 flying hours in the C-130, KC-10, and C-32.

“He has commanded in garrison, crisis, and combat and at the squadron, wing, and task-force levels,” according to his bio. “He also held staff assignments at Headquarters Air Force, U.S. Transportation Command, and Pacific Air Forces. Most recently, Lt. Gen. Minihan served as Chief of Staff for United Nations Command, U.S. Forces Korea, and then U.S. Indo Pacific Command.”

Biden nominated Van Ovost to lead U.S. Transportation Command in early March. Her nomination has been pending Senate approval since then, but the Senate Armed Services Committee has yet to schedule a confirmation hearing. Van Ovost is the U.S. military’s only female four-star general, and if confirmed she will become just the second woman ever to lead a combatant command, following retired USAF Gen. Lori J. Robinson, who led U.S. Northern Command from May 2016 to May 2018.

Biden also nominated Maj. Gen. Michael A. Guetlein to receive a third star and for assignment as commander of Space Systems Command at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Guetlein, who currently serves as deputy director of the National Reconnaissance Office, would be the first commander of the Space Force field command, which will be tasked with overseeing the new service’s acquisition and launch services.

Space Systems Command is expected to officially stand up this summer. The Space and Missile Systems Center will be redesignated as the SSC headquarters. Launch operations at Patrick Space Force Base, Fla., and Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., also will be realigned under SSC, as well other Air Force units once the command stands up, the department has said. Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, who currently leads SMC, will retire, according a July 1 senior leader announcement.

Biden also nominated the following for lieutenant general and for new assignments:

  • Lt. Gen. Kevin B. Schneider, commander of U.S. Forces Japan and commander of 5th Air Force at Yokota Air Base, Japan, has been nominated to serve as director of staff at Headquarters Air Force at the Pentagon.
  • Maj. Gen. James A. Jacobson, Air Force director of training and readiness for the deputy chief of staff for operations, has been nominated to serve as deputy commander of Pacific Air Forces at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
  • Maj. Gen. Tom D. Miller, director of logistics, engineering, and force protection for Air Combat Command, has been nominated to serve as commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.
  • Maj. Gen. Mark E. Weatherington, commander of 8th Air Force and commander of the Joint-Global Strike Operations Center, has been nominated to serve as deputy commander of Air Force Global Strike Command at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.