The U.S. Air Force has promoted the first woman to be in command of the Pacific Air Forces in Hawaii.
Lt. Gen. Lori Robinson was nominated for the position by President Barack Obama, and also received a fourth star, according to Stars and Stripes. She was also given the position of air component commander for U.S. Pacific Command and executive director of Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
Robinson is currently vice commander at Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.
One issue that has been raised with the move is that while Robinson has experience as an air battle manager, she is not a pilot. A retired pilot said Air Force has always given the command position to pilots for a reason, The Washington Times reported.
"It is because you make operational decisions that require the understanding of what you are going to ask pilots to execute in combat where the wrong decisions mean the difference between life and death," the pilot said. "Now her vice commander and director of operations will be rated fighter pilots, but she still makes the decisions."
The decision to put Robinson in charge of the Pacific Air Forces is part of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's effort to bring more diversity to the Pentagon, Newsmax.com reported. It also follows the Navy's decision to promote its first woman, Adm. Michelle Howard, to four-star rank earlier this month. Howard now serves as vice chief of naval operations.
Robinson is replacing Gen. Herbert Carlisle, a career F-15 pilot, who is taking over leadership of Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, The Washington Times reported.
The first female officer to command an Air Force component is Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, who, from 2010 to 2012, commanded the 17th Air Force, the Air Force component for Africa Command at the time. The 17th was disbanded in 2012, and a career F-15 pilot currently commands Air Forces in Europe and Africa.