The retirement of Gen. Mark Welsh, whose Active Duty career officially ends July 1, means the presumptive 21st Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein is now USAF’s most senior uniformed officer. The Air Force will not appoint an “acting” Chief of Staff. Since Goldfein currently serves as the service’s vice chief of staff, under Title 10 of the US Code he will perform the duties of Chief of Staff until a successor is appointed, officials told Air Force Magazine. However, Goldfein is expected to be appointed shortly, after receiving support during his June 15 nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
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.