ETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – A former director of plans and vice commander of Air Force Space Command could be returning the headquarters for the third time — this time as a four-star commander.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced Feb. 14 that the president has nominated Lt. Gen. Lance Lord, the assistant vice chief of staff at headquarters U.S. Air Force, for another star and the top post at AFSPC.

Gen. Ed Eberhart, commander AFSPC and commander in chief North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Space Command, will hand over command of the Air Force major command to Lord sometime in April and remain head of NORAD and U.S. Space Command. The organizational change is the result of a recommendation made last year by the Department of Defense’s Space Commission.

“I am deeply honored to be nominated to serve as commander of Air Force Space Command,” Lord said. “Our success in the war on terrorism demonstrates space is critical to national security and all military services — from peace, through crisis, to war. If confirmed for this important job, I look forward to leading the finest space professionals in the world.”

Much of Lord’s career has been spent in the missile field. His first duty assignment was as a Minuteman II combat crewmember with the 321st Strategic Missile Wing, Grand Forks AFB, N.D. He has also had assignments as a Minuteman II evaluation member and missile operations staff officer. His first command was for the 10th Strategic Missile Squadron at Malmstrom AFB, Mont. Other command positions include the 90th Missile Wing, F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., and the 2nd Air Force at Keesler AFB, Miss. He has also served in academic positions as commandant of the Squadron Officer School, Maxwell, AFB, Ala., from 1990 to 1992 and commander of Air University at the same base from 1999 to 2001.

The selection elicited a positive response from the current commander.

“The men and women of Air Force Space Command join me in congratulating Lieutenant General Lance Lord for being nominated by the president to the rank of general and to be the next commander,” said Eberhart. “He is a tremendous leader who is exceptionally well-qualified to meet the dynamic challenges of providing warfighters with the world’s best space capabilities. We are happy to welcome General Lord and his wife Beccy back to the Air Force Space Command team.”

The general has to be confirmed at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. If approved, the matter goes on to the Senate for a role call vote.