President Obama Nominates First Woman As Four-Star U.S. Air Force General

Feb 7, 2012
Originally published on February 7, 2012 8:44 am

The Air Force may soon get its first female four star general. On Monday, President Obama nominated Lt. General Janet C. Wolfenbarger to the rank of general. If confirmed by the Senate, she'd become commander of Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton, Ohio. She previously served as Vice Commander there.

Wolfenbarger graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1980 - the first class to include women among its graduates. Her impressive biography shows her rise from a military intelligence analyst to her current Pentagon position as Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition. The bio says she's responsible for Air Force programs from development through testing and production. Their budgets are worth more than $40 billion dollars annually.

Going to Wright-Patterson means more responsibility for Wolfenbarger; the Dayton Daily News says the Air Force Materiel Command handles $60 billion dollars in research, development and testing programs for Air Force aircraft and weapons programs. Some 83,000 people work there.

If the Senate confirms Wolfenbarger, she'd join Army General Ann Dunwoody at the elevated rank; Reuters notes in 2008, Dunwoody became the first ever female four-star general in the American military.

There's no word on when the Senate may act. A spokesman for Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told the American Forces Press Service that "General Wolfenbarger is an outstanding Air Force Officer. The fact that she would be the first woman to wear a fourth star in the Air Force, if confirmed, is a testament to her skills, experience and dedication."

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