U.S. Air Forces Central Command is about to get a new commander to oversee its wars against the Taliban and ISIS: Maj. Gen. Joseph Guastella Jr.
Guastella on Tuesday was nominated for his third star, and an assignment as AFCENT commander at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, the Pentagon said in a release.
He is now director of integrated air, space, cyberspace and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations at Air Force Space Command headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.
If confirmed, Guastella would succeed Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, who has been head of AFCENT since July 2016.
Guastella, who graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1987, is an F-16 Fighting Falcon and A-10 Thunderbolt pilot with more than 4,000 flight hours, including more than 1,000 combat flight hours. He served multiple combat tours, including a stint as commander of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, from July 2012 to July 2013.
Guastella is also an experienced instructor pilot who taught at the U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. He has also commanded the 55th Fighter Squadron, also known as the “Triple Nickel,” at Aviano Air Base in Italy and the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.
The Pentagon also announced Air Force Personnel Center commander Maj. Gen. Brian Kelly has been nominated for his third star, and to become the next personnel chief of the Air Force.
If confirmed, Kelly will succeed Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, who became the deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services in October 2015. Grosso’s next assignment has not yet been announced.
Kelly took command of AFPC and received his second star last June. He previously served under Grosso as director of military force management policy at the Pentagon.
And the Pentagon announced that Lt. Gen. Giovanni Tuck, who is now commander of the 18th Air Force at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, has been nominated to be director of logistics for the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.