WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced April 26 that the president has nominated Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein to be the 21st chief of staff of the Air Force, succeeding Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, who has served in the position since 2012.
“I’m extremely humbled by the nomination to serve as the Air Force’s 21st chief of staff. If confirmed, I pledge to serve our Airmen and their families unwaveringly and honor our remarkable heritage and legacy of integrity, service and excellence,” Goldfein said. “I also look forward to joining my fellow service chiefs as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Mark and Betty Welsh continue to be exceptional stewards of our service, and Dawn and I are honored to follow in their footsteps.”
Goldfein entered the Air Force in June 1983 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has been assigned to numerous operational, command and staff positions. He currently serves as the vice chief of staff, where he presides over the Air Staff and serves as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Requirements Oversight Council and Deputy Advisory Working Group.
“I am pleased to support the nomination of General David Goldfein as our next chief of staff,” said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. “General Goldfein possesses the experience and vision needed to address dynamic global challenges and increasing military demand. He knows how to build and sustain key partnerships, has important warfighting experience, and will exercise the critical judgement required to balance our manpower and resources as we shape tomorrow’s Air Force. There is not a better person to lead our Airmen into the next century of airpower dominance.”
Prior to his current position, Goldfein was the director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., where he assisted the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in fulfilling his responsibilities as the principal military adviser to the president and secretary of defense.
“Dave Goldfein is an Airman who epitomizes warrior leadership, and that’s exactly what our Air Force deserves,” Welsh said. “He connects deeply with Airmen, he supports their families relentlessly, and he absolutely recognizes the criticality of our service’s mission. Most importantly, he and Dawn understand the remarkable privilege they’ve been afforded in serving the nation.”
Carter also spoke at a ceremony April 29 at the Pentagon, in which he congratulated Goldfein on his selection.
From his experience at the highest Air Force levels and the joint force, Goldfein “understands deeply the evolving nature of warfare and the threats we face,” the secretary said.
Goldfein, he added, has “developed a keen appreciation for the strategic horizon … and the need to develop resilient cyber and space capabilities, which will allow the United States to continue to dominate across all domains.”
If confirmed by the Senate as the next Air Force chief of staff, Goldfein’s “extensive political-military experience will be to our great benefit as we continue to accelerate our efforts against ISIL, and work with coalition nations to deal them a lasting defeat,” Carter said.
Goldfein is a command pilot with more than 4,200 flying hours in the T-37 Tweet, T-38 Talon, F-16C/D Fighting Falcon, F-117A Nighthawk, MQ-9 Reaper, and MC-12W. He has flown combat missions in operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Allied Force, and Enduring Freedom. Goldfein has received numerous awards for his military service including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor device and oak leaf cluster.
Editor’s note: Terri Moon Cronk of DOD News, Defense Media Activity also contributed to this article.