LOOK: How the Nominations Freeze Affects the Highest Levels of USAF, USSF Leadership (Image Credit: airandspaceforces)
On Aug. 14, Adm. Michael Gilday relinquished his post as Chief of Naval Operations without a Senate-confirmed successor. The Navy now joins the Army and Marine Corps in lacking a permanent top officer, as Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) continues to protest the Department of Defense’s reproductive health policies with a legislative hold, and lawmakers seemingly refuse to hold roll-call votes on any individual nominees.
There are now 301—and counting—nominations for flag and general officers that are stuck in limbo in the Senate.
The Air Force will likely not go without a permanent leader anytime soon—Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. still has another year left in his term, and while he has been nominated to become the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, that nomination is being held up too.
But the effects of the promotions freeze go beyond Brown, from wing commanders to the Air Force and Space Force’s vice chiefs. More than 100 Air Force and Space Force officers are now stuck in limbo. In some cases, generals who had been planning on retiring are staying on indefinitely. In others, generals are taking on their new jobs in an acting capacity, or without a promotion to a higher grade.
At the highest levels, these charts highlight the different organizations whose leadership has been affected in some form or fashion.
Three of the Air Staff’s 16 members are affected by the nomination freeze—nearly a fifth total and a quarter of the uniformed officers. That’s also not counting the Air Force’s director of staff position, where Lt. Gen. Kevin B. Schneider has been nominated to pin on a fourth star and take command of Pacific Air Forces, and Lt. Gen. Scott L. Pleus has been tapped to succeed him.
- Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. has been nominated to become the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs but not confirmed.
- Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David W. Allvin has been nominated to replace Brown as Chief of Staff. His successor as Vice Chief has not been announced.
- Lt. Gen. James C. Dawkins Jr. is set to leave his job as deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration. Maj. Gen. Andrew J. Gebara has been nominated to succeed him and become a lieutenant general but is still waiting.
- Lt. Gen. S. Clinote Hinote has retired from his job as deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration and requirements, or head of Air Force Futures. Maj. Gen. David Harris has been nominated to succeed him and get a promotion.
- Maj. Gen. Jeannie M. Leavitt is leaving her job as Chief of Safety, and Brig. Gen. Sean M. Choquette has been nominated to replace her and pin on a second star.
- Pacific Air Forces is slated to get entirely new leadership: Commander Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach has been nominated to lead Air Combat Command, and Vice Commander Lt. Gen. James A. Jacobson is retiring. Lt. Gen. Kevin B. Schneider and Maj. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman have been nominated for promotions and to serve as commander and vice commander, respectively.
- Air Combat Command boss Gen. Mark D. Kelly is set to retire and be succeeded by Wilsbach. Vice commander Lt. Gen. Russell L. Mack is also leaving, and Maj. Gen. Michael G. Koscheski has been tapped to get a promotion and take the job.
- Air Force Global Strike Command vice commander Lt. Gen. Mark E. Weatherington is retiring, and Maj. Gen. Michael J. Lutton has been nominated to succeed him and get a promotion.
- Air Force Materiel Command vice commander Lt. Gen. Carl E. Schaefer is retiring, and Brig. Gen. Linda S. Hurry has been nominated as his successor and for a promotion.
- Air Force Special Operations Command vice commander Brig. Gen. Rebecca J. Sonkiss has been nominated for a promotion.
Numbered Air Forces
- 7th Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Scott L. Pleus has been nominated to go to the Pentagon and become Air Force Director of Staff. Maj. Gen. David R. Iverson has been tapped to succeed him and pin on a third star.
- 20th Air Force commander Maj. Gen Michael J. Lutton has been nominated to become vice commander of AFGSC. When he moves, Brig. Gen. Stacy J. Huser has been nominated to succeed him and get a promotion.
- 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) vice commander Col. John B. Creel has been nominated for promotion to brigadier general.
- 4th Air Force commander Brig. Gen. Derin S. Durham has been nominated for promotion to major general.
- 9th Air Force (Air Forces Central) vice commander Brig. Gen. David A. Mineau has been nominated for promotion to major general.
The Space Force is smaller and has far fewer officers caught up in the nominations hold, but all three of its field commands are affected, as is the service’s No. 2 office and one of its key Space Staff positions.
- Vice Chief of Space Operations Gen. David D. Thompson is set to retire, and Space Systems Command commander Lt. Gen. Michael A. Guetlein has been nominated to succeed him and get a fourth star.
- Deputy chief of space operations for operations, strategy, plans, programs, and requirements Lt. Gen. Philip A. Garrant has been nominated to be commander of Space Systems Command, and Air Force Maj. Gen. Shawn W. Bratton, who had been head of Space Training and Readiness Command, has been nominated twice to transfer into the Space Force at the rank of lieutenant general.
- Space Operations Command commander Gen. Stephen N. Whiting has been nominated to be commander of U.S. Space Command. His successor has not been announced.
- Space Systems Command commander Lt. Gen. Michael A. Guetlein has been nominated to become Vice Chief of Space Operations. Lt. Gen. Philip A. Garrant, currently deputy chief of space operations for strategy, plans, programs, and requirements, has been nominated as his successor.
- Space Training and Readiness Command commander Maj. Gen. Shawn W. Bratton has been nominated to be deputy chief of space operations for strategy, plans, programs, and requirements. Brig. Gen. Timothy A. Sejba has succeeded him as a commander but is still awaiting promotion to Maj. Gen.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified nominations for Air Force Special Operations Command and the 16th Air Force. AFSOC vice commander Brig. Gen. Rebecca J. Sonkiss has been nominated for a promotion to major general, and 16th Air Force Maj. Gen. Thomas K. Hensley is not retiring.