Obama to nominate first female combatant commander

Obama to nominate first female combatant commander
© Getty Images

President Obama plans to nominate the first female combatant commander, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Friday. 

The president will nominate Air Force Gen. Lori Robinson for commander of U.S. Northern Command.


Robinson is currently the head of Pacific Air Forces, where there is an "intense operational tempo," Carter said Friday at a breakfast hosted by Politico. 

"Very good managerial experience. I've seen her when she basically did the budget for the Joint Chiefs in years past," he said. 

"Gen. Robinson, just so happens, would also be the first ever female combatant commander," he added. 

"That shows yet another thing, which is that we have coming along now a lot of female officers who are exceptionally strong. Lori certainly fits into that category."

Robinson deployed as Vice Commander of the 405th Expeditionary Wing for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. She has also served as Deputy Commander for U.S. Air Forces Central Command. 

As the commander of Northern Command, she would oversee operations to defend the homeland. 

Carter said Obama has approved his recommendation to nominate Robinson, and will do so for approval by the Senate. 

Carter has overseen the final push to integrate women into combat positions in the military. Earlier this year, he announced he would open all combat jobs to women who qualify for them.

Last week, he approved the military services' plans to integrate women into those jobs, which include all infantry and special operations jobs. 

Carter also announced Obama would nominate Army Gen. Vincent Brooks as commander of U.S. Forces Korea, to succeed Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, who has been tapped to become NATO Supreme Allied Commander and head U.S. European Command. 

Brooks is currently the commander of U.S. Army Pacific.

“He’s the one who has been shepherding what the Army calls Pacific Pathways, which is the Army’s ingredient in the so-called rebalance to the Asia-Pacific,” Carter said.

- Updated at 11:17 a.m.