President Barack Obama has nominated Gen. David Goldfein to serve as chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, the Pentagon announced Tuesday.
Goldfein, who is Jewish and currently serves as the Air Force’s vice chief of staff, was picked to succeed Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, who has served in the position since 2012, according to an Air Force press release.
Goldfein has flown combat missions including in the Gulf War, the Afghanistan War, and NATO’s 1999 air campaign in Yugoslavia, the Air Force Times reported.
His appointment must be confirmed by the Senate before he can take the position.
“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,” he added.
The Air Force chief of staff is the most senior uniformed officer position in the department and is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a group of top military advisors to the president and secretary of defense.
Goldfein would be the second Jewish person to serve in the position, following Norton Schwartz’s tenure in 2008-2012.
“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.”
Josefin Dolsten is a former news fellow at the Forward, writing about politics and culture, and editing the Sisterhood blog. She received an MA in Jewish Studies and Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Government from Cornell University. Follow her on Twitter at @josefindolsten .