President Barack Obama nominated Air Force Gen. David Goldfein to serve as the service’s next chief of staff, according to a Defense Department statement.

Goldfein currently serves as vice chief of staff. He’s the latest in a line of pilots to serve as the Air Force’s top officer. Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) chief Gen. John Hyten was rumored to be the Air Force’s next chief of staff. He would have been the Air Force’s top officer to rise from the space ranks.

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein. Photo: Air Force.
Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein. Photo: Air Force.

Goldfein is a command pilot with more than 4,200 hours flying aircraft like the T-37, T-38, F-16C/D, F-117A, MQ-9 and MC-12W. Before serving as vice chief of staff starting in August 2015, he spent two years as director of the Joint Staff, where he developed and provided strategic direction, policy guidance and planning focus to the Joint Staff and by fostering clear communication among the president, defense secretary, unified commands, and services.

From August 2011 to July 2013, he was commander of Air Forces Central Command in southwest Asia. Goldfein graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1983, according to the Air Force.

The Air Force’s current chief of staff, Gen. Mark Welsh, has served in his position since August 2012. Goldfein’s nomination is subject to Senate confirmation.