WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Barack Obama intends to nominate the first female combatant commander in the military’s history, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Friday.
Carter announced that he had recommended Air Force Gen. Lori Robinson to be appointed to lead U.S. Northern Command while speaking at a breakfast hosted by Politico.
He described Robinson as having “very deep operational experience,” “very good managerial experience” and “just so happens would also be the first female combatant commander.”
Robinson, who currently serves as commander of Pacific Air Forces, had long been rumored for the position.
Northern Command oversees military operations in the continental United States, Alaska, Canada and Mexico. There are six regional combatant commands that oversee military operations around the globe. There are also three additional functional commands that oversee Special Forces, space and transportation operations.
Combatant commands are led by a four-star general or admiral. The first woman to achieve the rank of four-star general was Army Gen. Ann Dunwoody, who received the promotion in 2008.
Carter praised Robinson’s command experience, telling the audience that she was well suited for the job.
Robinson first entered the Air Force in 1982 and became an air battle manager, which are responsible for command and control of aircraft in air battle space.
Brooke Stedman, the deputy director of Women in International Security, a non-government organization that supports women in the field of international peace and security, praised the move, telling CNN, “Our modern military is proving its ability to adapt to changing societal values and appoint officers with the greatest qualifications, regardless of their gender.”
“We have coming along now a lot of female officers who are exceptionally strong. Lori certainly fits in that category,” Carter said.