Who is the first woman to head a US combatant command?

President Obama has picked an Air Force general to lead one of the seven Unified Combatant Commands that oversee the nation’s forces throughout the world.

Senior Airman Katrina M. Brisbin/US Air Force/ Reuters
US Air Force Gen. Lori Robinson, Pacific Air Forces commander, addresses Airmen at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam in 2015.

United States Air Force Gen. Lori Robinson is set to become the first woman to head a combatant command in the history of the US military.

General Robinson was named to the position by President Obama, and would be in charge of the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) – one of seven Unified Combatant Commands that oversee the nation’s forces throughout the world.

The Northern Command is centered around North America and the surrounding waters and islands. The command is in charge of “homeland defense, civil support, and security cooperation” across the continent, and its commander is concurrently the head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). USNORTHCOM and NORAD are headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo.

In her current role, Robinson commands the Pacific Air Forces and is the component commander of the US Pacific Command and the executive director of the Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii. She began her Air Force career as a ROTC cadet at the University of New Hampshire, and has been a general since 2014. She earned her third and fourth stars in 2013 and 2014, after which she also became the first female four-star to command US combat forces, according to Defense News.

“We have, coming along now, a lot of female officers who are exceptionally strong. And Lori certainly fits into that category,” US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said at a Politico event, Reuters reports.

“She's highly capable, highly competent, and she will do a great job,” another source told Defense News.

Robinson will become the leading North American general pending confirmation by the Senate.

Mr. Carter announced another pending appointment: US Army Gen. Vincent Brooks, currently the commanding general of the Army’s Pacific forces, was nominated to command US Forces Korea in Seoul.

This report contains material from Reuters.

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