Robinson tapped to be first female combatant commander

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WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Defense Secretary Ash Carter has named a new commander for U.S. Northern Command to be confirmed by the Senate. If confirmed, the new Northern Command chief will be the first woman to lead a U.S. combatant command.

Carter made the announcement to pick Gen. Lori J. Robinson during a media interview March 18. President Barack Obama has approved the choice and will nominate her to the Senate, the secretary said.

Robinson now commands Pacific Air Forces and is the air component commander for U.S. Pacific Command.

She’s also executive director of the Pacific Air Combat Operations staff at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.

PACAF is responsible for Air Force activities spread over half the globe in a command that supports more than 46,000 Airmen serving mainly in Japan, Korea, Hawaii, Alaska, and Guam.

Robinson also is a senior air battle manager with more than 900 flight hours in the E-3B/C airborne warning and control system aircraft and the E-8C joint surveillance target attack radar system aircraft.

The general, Carter said, “has very deep operational experience, is now running the air forces in the Pacific, which is a very challenging place for the Air Force and a very intense operational tempo.”

Naming the first female combatant commander, Carter added, demonstrates “that we have coming along now a lot of female officers who are exceptionally strong. Lori certainly fits into that category.”