President Obama has nominated Lt. Gen. Larry James to oversee intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance matters on the Air Staff, USAF officials announced Wednesday. If the Senate approves this nomination, James would fill the void left by the departure of Lt. Gen. David Deptula from that post. Deptula formally retires from the Air Force on Oct. 1. James has been in charge of 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic-Space) at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., since December 2008. To replace James at 14th AF, Obama has selected Maj. Gen. Susan Helms, who would be promoted to the grade of lieutenant general, if the Senate goes along. Helms has been US Strategic Command’s director of plans and policy at Offutt AFB, Neb., since November 2008.
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.