May 20, 2024

Air Force General in Charge of Special Operations Command Nominated to Head Service Academy


Journalist: Thomas Novelly

While Bauernfeind's tenure at AFSOC has been less than the typical two years, it's not uncommon for the Air Force to move around its limited number of three-star generals into positions only they can fill, such as heading major commands or superintendent roles, Katherine Kuzminski, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security think tank, told

But Kuzminski added that the appointment of an AFSOC commander to be the Air Force Academy's superintendent is notable.

"You frequently see that a pilot ends up leading these organizations, which is true in his case as well," Kuzminski told on Monday. "I would also imagine that over the course of his career, in the last 20 years, there's been a very high demand for his sets of skills."

In the years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. military has relied more heavily on special operators for missions.

Now, the U.S. military overall is pivoting to focus on "great power competition" -- a term used to describe more defense spending and changes focused on rising threats, including China in the Pacific region.

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  • Katherine L. Kuzminski

    Deputy Director of Studies, Director, Military, Veterans, and Society Program

    Katherine L. Kuzminski (formerly Kidder) is the Deputy Director of Studies, and the Director of the Military, Veterans, and Society (MVS) Program at CNAS. Her research special...