President Obama has nominated Maj. Gen. Craig Franklin for promotion to the rank of lieutenant general for his next assignment as commander of 3rd Air Force at Ramstein AB, Germany, announced the Defense Department. Franklin is slated to replace Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc, who has led 3rd AF since August 2009. Franklin has been the Joint Staff’s vice director since November 2010. He has had two previous assignments in Europe. In the mid 1980s, he was an F-16 pilot at then Hahn Air Base in West Germany. In the late 2000s, he commanded the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano AB, Italy. Third Air Force is US Air Forces in Europe’s component numbered air force for US European Command. Along with its headquarters staff, it comprises 10 wings, three groups, and the 603rd Air and Space Operations Center.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.