President Obama nominated Maj. Gen. John Raymond for a third star and for assignment overseeing Air Force space forces as commander of 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic) at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., announced the Defense Department. Raymond has been serving since July 2012 as US Strategic Command’s director of plans and policy at Offutt AFB, Neb. If the Senate approves the nomination, Raymond would fill the void being created by the upcoming retirement of Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, who has led 14th AF since January 2011. Raymond would also lead STRATCOM’s Joint Functional Component Command for Space, according to the Pentagon’s Dec. 13 release. In these new roles, he would oversee the thousands of airmen who operate the service’s satellites and space launch ranges and direct the joint space forces assigned and attached to STRATCOM.
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.