The Senate approved President Obama’s nomination of Lt. Gen. David Goldfein to receive a fourth star for his new assignment as the Air Force’s vice chief of staff, announced service officials on Monday. Goldfein, who will assume the position in the coming months, has been assigned to the Pentagon as the Joint Staff’s director since August 2013. Obama tapped Goldfein in April to be vice chief, succeeding Gen. Larry Spencer, who has served in that role since July 2012 and is retiring from the Air Force after more than 35 years in uniform. The vice chief assists the Chief of Staff with organizing, training, and equipping airmen and Air Force civilian employees, and presides over the Air Staff. Spencer later this year is slated to become the Air Force Association’s new President.
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.