In the final few hours before the Senate adjourned for its Memorial Day recess on May 26, lawmakers approved a raft of some 3,400 pending military nominations, including a number of high-profile Air Force and Space Force generals to assignments that will significantly reshape some of the upper echelons of leadership.
Three USAF generals were confirmed to be deputy commanders of combatant commands—Lt. Gen. Timothy D. Haugh is set to go to U.S. Cyber Command, Lt. Gen. Steven L. Basham will go to U.S. European Command, and Lt. Gen. Gregory M. Guillot will join U.S. Central Command.
Haugh leads the 16th Air Force, the service’s information warfare-focused Numbered Air Force, and Air Force Cyber Command. In that role, he oversees a host of activities and helped to activate the service’s first spectrum warfare wing. He has prior experience at CYBERCOM, including a stint as director of intelligence, and he will serve as No. 2 to Army Gen. Paul M. Nakasone.
Basham served as deputy commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa. Now, he’s set to join Army Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, pending Cavoli’s Senate confirmation as the new EUCOM commander, at a critical moment in the theater, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continuing and the NATO alliance set to welcome Sweden and Finland.
Guillot has been the commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command, helping to oversee the military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. He will serve as the deputy to Army Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, who assumed command of CENTCOM in April.
Guillot’s replacement as AFCENT commander was also confirmed May 26—Maj. Gen. Alexus G. Grynkewich, confirmed to become a lieutenant general, will make the jump from director of operations at CENTCOM and receive a third star. In his new role, he’ll immediately face the challenge of conducting so-called “over the horizon” operations in Afghanistan to monitor threats of terrorism.
Grynkewich was one of several Air Force officers confirmed to a third star, including:
- Maj. Gen. John D. Lamontagne, the Chief of Staff at EUCOM, will become the deputy commander of USAFE.
- Maj. Gen. Richard G. Moore Jr., the director of programs under the deputy chief of staff for plans and programs, will succeed Lt. Gen. David S. Nahom, who has been nominated to take command of U.S. Northern Command’s Alaskan Command and the 11th Air Force.
- Maj. Gen. Michael J. Schmidt, the program executive officer for command, control, communication, intelligence, and networks, will become the new director of the F-35 Joint Program Office, succeeding Lt. Gen. Eric T. Fick. The appointment is unusual in that leadership of the JPO traditionally swaps back and forth between the Navy and Air Force. Typically, under the program’s 20-year old arrangement, an Air Force F-35 Program Executive Officer would be succeeded by a naval officer, and the overseeing service acquisition executive would switch also, with the Air Force now assuming that role. The purpose was to ensure that both services got an evenhanded opportunity to shape the program. The JPO said the Navy will “retain the service acquisition responsibilities” when Schmidt takes over.
- Maj. Gen. Charles L. Plummer, the deputy judge advocate general, will take on the lead role as the top judicial officer in the service.
- Maj. Gen. Leonard J. Kosinski, deputy commander of the Fifth Air Force, will become director of logistics for the Joint Staff
- Maj. Gen. Andrea D. Tullos, deputy commander of Air Education and Training Command, will move up a rank.
Also confirmed to become a lieutenant general is Brig. Gen. Caroline Miller, who will make the rare but not unprecedented move of skipping a rank. Miller will be the next deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel, and services.
Miller and Tullos will increase the number of actively-serving three-star women in the Air Force to four.
Meanwhile, the Space Force will see its number of total general officers expand by more than 20 percent, as five colonels were confirmed to become brigadier generals—Col. Robert J. Hutt, Col. Anthony J. Mastalir, Col. Jacob Middleton Jr., Col. Kristen L. Panzenhagen, Col. Brian D. Sidari.
Prior to their confirmation, the Space Force only had 24 generals in its ranks, 11 of them one-stars. Panzenhagen in particular will become just the third woman to be a Space Force general, and Middleton will be just the third Black man.