According to an April 22 Pentagon release, President Obama will nominate Air Force Lt. Gen. Douglas Fraser for a fourth star and to head US Southern Command. Fraser, a 1975 Air Force Academy graduate and fighter pilot, currently serves as deputy commander of US Pacific Command. If confirmed, he would be the first Air Force officer to lead SOUTHCOM. Meanwhile, the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 20 logged in the nomination of Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz to retain three stars and serve as the head of the new Air Force Global Strike Command, slated to stand up this fall. And, on April 3, the Senate confirmed Maj. Gen. Michael Gould to lead the Air Force Academy and receive a third star. In other general officer news, the White House is to nominate Maj. Gen. Marc Rogers, currently vice commander of US Air Forces in Europe, to serve as Inspector General and Maj. Gen. Larry Spencer, currently deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for budget, to become director of force structure, resources, and assessments on the Joint Staff, each would also gain another star.
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.