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Gen. Anthony Cotton Starts Strategic Command Leadership Role

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Air Force Gen. Anthony Cotton, who has led the Air Force Global Strike Command since August 2021, assumed duties as the new head of U.S. Strategic Command at a ceremony that took place Friday at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, DOD News reported.

He was nominated by President Joe Biden to lead Stratcom in June and replaced Charles Richard, who retired from the U.S. Navy with the rank of admiral after a four-decade military career.

As Stratcom’s 12th commander, Cotton will lead the organization that provides command-and-control support to the U.S. president, defense secretary, combatant heads and other national leaders.

“Strategic Command is here to deter conflict and keep the peace, and that means a safe, secure and effective U.S. nuclear arsenal as the ultimate backstop to deter strategic attacks on our country and our allies,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, a two-time Wash100 Award recipient, said during the Stratcom change of command ceremony.

Cotton started his military service in 1986, when he joined the U.S. Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. He has since helmed different Air Force squadron, group and wing units.

Cotton earned his oak leaf clusters and rose to the rank of major in 1990. He became brigadier general in 2011, and was promoted to four-star general in August last year.

Some of his notable assignments include as deputy director of the secretary and chief of staff of the Air Force Executive Action Group, and senior military assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. He also held senior positions at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, and Patrick AFB in Florida.