WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has nominated the next leader of Air Force Global Strike Command, which oversees the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missiles and strategic bombers.

Lt. Gen. Timothy Ray, the current deputy commander for U.S. European Command in Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany, has been tapped, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced Thursday.

If confirmed, Ray would be pin on his fourth star and relocate to Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.

Ray would replace current commander Gen. Robin Rand, who has led Global Strike Command since July 2015.

Ray is an Air Force Academy graduate who has operational experience flying the T-38 and B-52, including as an instructor and squadron commander. As the wing commander of the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, he also spent time piloting the B-1.

A B-52 Stratofortress deployed from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., flies toward a Corsica training range Jan. 24. Global Strike Command oversees the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missiles and strategic bombers. (Tech. Sgt. Joshua J. Garcia/Air Force)
A B-52 Stratofortress deployed from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., flies toward a Corsica training range Jan. 24. Global Strike Command oversees the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missiles and strategic bombers. (Tech. Sgt. Joshua J. Garcia/Air Force)

He served as commander of NATO Air Training Command in Afghanistan in 2011. From 2012 to 2015, he worked in the Pentagon under the service’s acquisition head and the deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements.

Space Command to get new vice commander

Also on Thursday, Maj. Gen. David Thompson was nominated to become the next vice commander of Air Force Space Command.

His nomination comes as little surprise.

Thompson, who currently serves as special assistant to the head of Space Command, held the AFSC vice commander position from July 2015 to July 2017. He then was nominated for a new three-star A11 position, which was created by the Air Force to advocate for space in the Pentagon.

However, Congress didn’t see a need for the A11 and eliminated the office in the fiscal 2018 Defense Authorization Act, calling the move to create it “a hastily developed half-measure instituted by the Air Force, which at best only added a box on the organizational chart.”

In response, the Air Force decided to elevate the Space Command vice commander to a three-star position, which would now be based at the Pentagon — in effect carrying out the role of the A11 under a different name.