President Biden announces on International Women’s Day the nominations of two female generals

President Joe Biden announced Monday while making remarks on International Women’s Day that he has nominated two female generals to four star commands after their nominations faced delays under the Trump administration.

Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost and Gen. Laura J. Richardson, who stood behind Biden in the White House’s East Room as the announcement was made, will be just the second and third women in U.S. history to hold the position, if confirmed by the Senate. Gen. Van Ovost was nominated to head the Air Force’s Transportation Command; Lt. Gen. Richardson was nominated to the Army’s Southern command. They are both expected to be confirmed by the Senate, according to the New York Times. 

The New York Times reported in February that these nominations, along with several others, were delayed last year due to fear of “turmoil” from the Donald Trump White House. Then-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper allegedly worried that nominating anyone who wasn’t a white man would result in the Trump administration nominating their own candidates. Former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller denied these allegations, stating that their nominations were delayed because they were being submitted too early for congressional consideration: a point which two defense officials reiterated to CNN on Monday.

During his remarks Monday, President Biden asked the American public to “see and to recognize the barrier-breaking accomplishments of these women,” adding, “They are warriors, they’re crisis-tested commanders, and best of all, they’re not done yet.” Vice President Kamala Harris also commented on the nominations during her own brief remarks, saying, “While it has only been five years since all combat jobs have opened to women, women have been in the line of fire risking their lives to protect our nation long before that.” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also commented on the nominations, saying, “You know that the diversity of our nation makes us stronger and diversity in our military ranks makes us better at defending the American people.”




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