Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser took charge of US Southern Command Thursday during a change of command ceremony, just before which Defense Secretary Robert Gates awarded Fraser his fourth star. Fraser, who last served as deputy commander at US Pacific Command, replaces Adm. James Stavridis, who is slated to become Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and commander of US European Command. In his assumption of command remarks, Fraser said he was “eager to work with this great team of professionals at Southern Command and our partners in South Florida and throughout the region.” He said, too, “The transnational and trans-regional challenges we face to security, stability, and prosperity in the Americas can only be met through strong, enduring partnerships.” (SOUTHCOM report)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.