The White House has nominated Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the Air Force’s current military deputy for acquisition, to be promoted to general and to lead Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, pending Senate confirmation.

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Air Force Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch Jr., military deputy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, was nominated Dec. 11 to promote to general and become Air Force Materiel Command commander. (Photo: Air Force)

The nomination was received by the Senate Dec. 11, according to the Congressional Record. Bunch would direct AFMC’s enterprise, including 80,000 employees and a nearly $60 billion annual portfolio, the command said in a Dec. 12 press release. If confirmed, he would succeed retired Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski who led Air Force Materiel Command from 2015 until her retirement this past September.

As the service’s military deputy for acquisition since 2015, Bunch has managed the Air Force’s $32 billion annual portfolio of research and development, test, production and modernization programs.

Bunch’s resume includes operational assignments as an instructor, evaluator and aircraft commander for the B-52 Stratofortress bomber. He previously served as the commander of the Air Force Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and has commanded at the squadron, group and wing levels, according to the Air Force. He is a command pilot with over 2,500 flight hours in aircraft including the B-52 and B-2 bombers, the KC-135 tanker, the F-16 fighter jet and the T-38 trainer.

Air Force Materiel Command includes eight Air Force installations nationwide and oversees the development, acquisition, modernization and sustainment of weapon systems. It encompasses six centers, to include the Air Force Research Laboratory, and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

Lt. Gen. Robert D. McMurry Jr. was named as interim commander of AFMC in August, and has been serving in a dual hat capacity, maintaining his responsibilities as Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) commander. If Bunch is confirmed, McMurry will return full time to his duties as Air Force Life Cycle Management Center commander, the release said. A date has not yet been set for an assumption of command ceremony.   

Air Force Maj. Gen. Duke Richardson, currently the Air Force program executive officer for presidential aircraft recapitalization, was nominated Nov. 30 to replace Bunch as the Air Force’s military deputy for acquisition, a three-star position. The Senate Armed Services Committee has not yet scheduled hearing dates for either of these nominations.