Senate confirms commanders for US military in Asia-Pacific, North America
The Senate has confirmed two four-star officers to take over command of U.S. military forces in the Asia-Pacific and North America.
As part of a group of military promotions, the Senate confirmed by voice vote Adm. Philip Davidson to be commander of U.S. Pacific Command and Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy to be commander of U.S. Northern Command.
The confirmation comes just two weeks after the pair was nominated.
Davidson will move from being the head of Navy Fleet Forces, while O’Shaughnessy will move from being the head of Pacific Air Forces.
At Pacific Command, Davidson will take over for Adm. Harry Harris, who is retiring from active duty. Harris was nominated to become the new U.S. ambassador to Australia, but is now expected to be nominated to be the new U.S. ambassador to South Korea instead.
Davidson will take command of U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific at a time of heightened tensions and delicate diplomatic maneuvering with North Korea. President Trump is expected to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in May or June.
Davidson will also be in command while China is bulking up its presence and expanding its claims in the South China Sea.
O’Shaughnessy, meanwhile, is taking 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 (NORTHCOM) and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, O’Shaughnessy will be responsible for leading the Pentagon’s homeland defense efforts, including responding to natural disasters such as last year’s brutal hurricane season.
NORTHCOM 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.