Defense

Trump nominates new commanders for military operations in Asia-Pacific, North America

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The Pentagon is shown in this Dec. 5, 2017, file photo.

President Trump has nominated two four-stars to take over command of operations in the Asia-Pacific region and North America.

Adm. Philip Davidson, currently the head of Navy Fleet Forces, has been nominated as commander of U.S. Pacific Command, the Pentagon announced Tuesday night.

Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the head of Pacific Air Forces, was nominated for commander of U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the Pentagon announced.

{mosads}If confirmed, Davidson would take over for Adm. Harry Harris, who is retiring from active duty and has been nominated to become the new U.S. ambassador to Australia. 

Davidson would take command of U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific at a time of heightened tensions and delicate diplomatic tangoing with North Korea. Tensions on the Korean Peninsula skyrocketed over the last year as Pyongyang made rapid progress on its nuclear and missile programs and Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un traded threats. But tensions have cooled for now after North Korea participated in the Winter Olympics and Trump agreed to meet with Kim. Trump said this week the meeting will take place in May or June.

Davidson would also be in command of the Asia-Pacific region while China is bulking up its presence and more aggressively asserting its claims in the South China Sea.

O’Shaughnessy, meanwhile, would take over for Gen. Lori Robinson, who is the first and only woman to lead a combatant command and the highest-ranking female officer in U.S. history. She is expected to retire.

As head of Northern Command and NORAD, O’Shaughnessy would be responsible for leading the Pentagon’s homeland defense efforts, including responding to natural disasters such as last year’s brutal hurricane season. 

Northern Command is also responsible for the country’s homeland ballistic missile defense system that would be used to protect against, for example, an incoming nuclear weapon from North Korea.

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