WASHINGTON — President Biden on July 11 submitted to the U.S. Senate the nominations of two three-star Space Force leaders for promotion to four-star generals.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, commander of the Space Force’s Space Operations Command; and Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein, commander of the Space Force’s Space Systems Command, have been nominated to the rank of general and to receive a fourth star. 

Whiting is expected to become the next commander of U.S. Space Command, replacing Gen. James Dickinson. Guetlein is expected to become the next vice chief of space operations of the Space Force, replacing Gen. David “DT” Thompson

The nominations will be considered by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The White House also submitted the nomination of Lt. Gen. Philip Garrant, deputy chief of space operations for strategy, plans, programs and requirements, to a new assignment at the same rank.

Garrant is expected to replace Guetlein as the commander of the Space Systems Command, based in Los Angeles. 

Block on military nominations

If the Space Force nominations are approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee, it’s unclear when they will reach the Senate floor. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.)  has placed a hold on general and flag officer nominations to protest a DoD policy that covers certain abortion-related travel expenses for service members.

Tuberville said he will continue to block military nominations until the Pentagon changes the policy or it is passed through legislation. 

The Pentagon said as many as 265 general and flag officer nominations have been delayed in the Senate, affecting the smooth transition of leadership.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...