Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, deputy chief of US Strategic Command, is likely to be nominated to receive a fourth star and to take over as Air Force vice chief of staff from Gen. David Goldfein, who’s been nominated to be Chief of Staff, services sources report. Wilson has been a bomber pilot and commander at the flight, division, group,? and wing levels during his 35-year career. He led 8th Air Force and then Global Strike Command before taking the No. 2 job at STRATCOM. Sources said his knowledge of the nuclear mission was a big factor in his becoming the top candidate for the vice job, as the Air Force is about to embark on a widespread modernization of its nuclear assets, from the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent ICBM to the new B-21 bomber and the Long-Range Standoff missile, or LRSO. Wilson, who has over 4,500 flying hours—some 680 of which have been in combat—has also been a vocal advocate of re-engining the B-52 bomber fleet. Wilson commanded the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Udeid AB, Qatar, from July 2009-July 2010, supporting the last stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While he’d been considered a strong candidate to succeed Adm. Cecil Haney as commander of STRATCOM, sources say Air Force Space Command chief Gen. John Hyten will likely be tapped for that job. As vice chief, Wilson would represent the Air Force on a number of joint-service committees, notably the Joint Requirements Oversight Council.
After a long period in which munitions were almost an afterthought and sacrificed to pay for other priorities, the Air Force needs to focus on them in order to have the right “package” of capabilities for future conflicts, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said June 7.