Senate Armed Services advances Air Force cyber nominee

The Senate Armed Services Committee this week advanced President Joe Biden’s nominee to helm the 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber).

The panel on Wednesday approved Air Force Maj. Gen. Kevin Kennedy, U.S. Cyber Command’s director of operations, to receive his third star and take over the service’s first information warfare entity that is responsible for a number of missions, including cyber.

The congressional rubber-stamp comes less than a month after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced Biden’s selection. Kennedy’s nomination now goes to the full Senate, where he appears to be on a glide path to confirmation.

If confirmed, Kennedy would replace Air Force Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, who oversaw the service's consolidation of several missions, including electronic warfare, into the single, Texas-based organization in 2019. 

Last month lawmakers confirmed Haugh to become the new deputy chief at Cyber Command, a move that is considered a prelude to him eventually succeeding Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, who leads Cyber Command and the National Security Agency and has been asked to remain in his “dual-hat” leadership post for another year.

Kennedy, who did not have a confirmation hearing, has served at Cyber Command since 2020. He previously served in a number of cyber-related posts within Air Force headquarters staff at the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. 

It is unclear when the full Senate will take up his nomination, though lawmakers may move on it next week as they look to clear some of their agenda before the two-week July 4 recess.

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Martin Matishak

Martin Matishak

is the senior cybersecurity reporter for The Record. Prior to joining Recorded Future News in 2021, he spent more than five years at Politico, where he covered digital and national security developments across Capitol Hill, the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community. He previously was a reporter at The Hill, National Journal Group and Inside Washington Publishers.