Robinson Becomes First Female Combatant Commander

Gen. Lori Robinson on Friday took command of NORAD and US Northern Command from Adm. Bill Gortney, becoming the first woman to lead a combatant command. Robinson “has a remarkable and complete set of proven experience,” and is a strong strategic thinker and manager, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said during the ceremony. “We cannot predict precisely how or when the men and women of NORAD and NORTHCOM will be called to carry forward their mission, but we do know this: We know Gen. Robinson will lead this team with certainty, clarity, and with the full trust and confidence of me and the President,” he added. This is not the first glass ceiling Robinson has shattered. She also became the first woman to lead an Air Force component major command in October 2014 when she took command of Pacific Air Forces. During the change of command ceremony in Colorado Springs, Colo., Carter noted that the US faces five “major, immediate, and evolving challenges,” and NORAD and NORTHCOM play a role in all of them. Russian aggression, the “historic change” in the Asia-Pacific region, strengthening deterrence against North Korea’s nuclear provocations, “checking Iranian aggression and malign influence” in the Middle East, and defeating ISIS are all critical, he said.