Helms Nomination Withdrawn

President Obama withdrew the nomination of Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, 14th Air Force commander, to be Air Force Space Command’s next vice commander. The Nov. 7 withdrawal comes on the heels of Helms’ decision to retire; she applied for retirement in early November, an Air Force spokesman told the Daily Report on Nov. 15. Obama nominated Helms, the US military’s first woman in space, for AFSPC’s No. 2 post in March. However, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) held up Helms’ nomination due to McCaskill’s concerns about Helms’ role in overturning the ruling in a sexual assault case involving an Air Force captain. At the time of Helms’ application to retire, McCaskill’s hold was still in place, according to the senator’s office. Neither the Air Force nor McCaskill’s office had comment on Helms’ decision to retire. Helms has been in the Air Force since 1980. She’s been in charge of 14th AF since January 2011 and would have succeeded Lt. Gen. John Hyten at AFSPC headquarters.