The president has nominated Air Force Maj. Gen. James Hecker as the new commander and president of Air University, Air Education and Training Command, at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama.

Hecker, who has been serving as the vice director of operations for the Joint Staff, will also add a third star, according to a statement from Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

A 1989 graduate of the Air Force Academy, Hecker is a command pilot with more than 3,500 hours flying various aircraft including the F-15C, F-22, MQ-1B, HH-60, C-208 and the T-38C. He has commanded at the squadron, group, wing and numbered Air Force levels.

In response to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Hecker coordinated civilian and military disaster relief and humanitarian assistance during Operation Tomodachi while working with U.S. Forces Japan at Yokota Air Base.

Before his Pentagon assignment, Hecker served as commander of the 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Afghanistan; commander of NATO Air Command-Afghanistan; director of Air Forces Central Command’s Air Component Coordination Element for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and NATO’s Operation Resolute Support and deputy commander-Air for U.S. Forces Afghanistan.

If confirmed, Hecker will succeed Lt. Gen. Anthony Cotton.