Welsh Nominated as Next Chief of Staff

President Obama has nominated Gen. Mark Welsh, current US Air Forces in Europe commander, to be the next Air Force Chief of Staff, announced Defense Secretary Leon Panetta during a Pentagon press briefing on May 10. If the Senate confirms Welsh, he would replace Gen. Norton Schwartz, whose four-year term as CSAF is up in August. “I’m tremendously honored and deeply humbled by the nomination to serve as the next Air Force Chief of Staff,” said Welsh, a 1976 Air Force Academy graduate. Prior to leading USAFE, Welsh was the CIA’s associate director for military affairs where he worked closely with Panetta, the then-CIA director. “Over the course of our time working together, I developed a deep appreciation for his wisdom and his counsel,” said Panetta of Welsh. He said he thinks Welsh “has the right leadership qualities and distinguished background to follow his extraordinary predecessor, General Schwartz.” (SAF/PA release)