In exciting feminist (and global) news, U.S. General Lori Robinson has been nominated to be the next head of the U.S. Northern Command, the Pentagon said last week. She will undergo a Senate confirmation in the coming weeks. She will be the first female head of a combatant chapter of the U.S. military.
If she’s confirmed by the Senate, Robinson will replace Admiral Bill Gortney, who has been in charge of the Northern Command since December of 2014. The position oversees at least two military departments as an extension of the Defense Department. Luckily, Robinson has already sharpened her managerial chops: she’s been Commander of Pacific Air Forces at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii since October of 2014.
As head of the Northern Command, Robinson assumes one of the most senior positions in the United States military. She will be the top general overseeing all military activities in North America.
Robinson began her military career with the Air Force in 1982. Since then, she has worked in a number of different positions, including air battle manager, instructor and commander of the Command and Control Operations Division at the Air Force Fighter Weapons School, and she lead more than 2,000 Airmen in operations for Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. She also holds a BA in English from the University of New Hampshire, Durham, and two master’s degrees in education leadership and national security and strategic studies.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who nominated Robinson, acknowledges the importance of the nomination and of the recent progress the military has made with regard to gender restrictions. “We have, coming along now, a lot of female officers who are exceptionally strong. And Lori certainly fits into that category,” he said.
Currently, women are eligible to service in all combat positions within the military, including 213,600 positions in 52 specialties that were previously male-only.
In October, Robinson pinned her fourth star as a general.