Cotton Nominated to Lead Air Force Global Strike Command

President Joe Biden will nominate Lt. Gen. Anthony J. Cotton to head Air Force Global Strike Command, replacing retiring Gen. Timothy M. Ray, who has led the command since 2018.

A missileer by training, Cotton is currently Ray’s deputy and has previously commanded the 20th Air Force, the 45th Space Wing, and the 341st Missile Wing. He also was commander and president of Air University from February 2018 to October 2019 prior to becoming AFGSC’s deputy commander.

If confirmed, Cotton will take over as the command advances generational modernization efforts including acquisition of a next-generation stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider; development of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of 400 Minuteman III nuclear-armed missiles; and the next-generation nuclear-tipped cruise missile, the Long-Range Stand-Off Weapon. The service is also beginning to phase out its B-1B Lancer bombers.

Cotton would be only the second missileer to lead AFGSC since its inception in 2009 and the first Black officer ever to lead either this command or its predecessor, Strategic Air Command.

In an interview with Air Force Magazine last summer, he spoke about coming up as a Black officer in the Air Force and the progress he has seen recently in the way the service embraces people of color.

“I am cautiously optimistic that we’ll get after this,” he said, and “not necessarily only from a Department of the Air Force perspective,” he said. “It’s time for our nation to really dive into this and get after it—once and for all. And hopefully, you know, I don’t have to have those conversations with my kids.”