Department of Defense Image caption
US Defence Secretary Ash Carter has nominated the first female in US military history to lead a combatant command.
General Lori Robinson has been nominated to lead the US Northern Command, Mr Carter announced on Friday.
The position is one of the most senior in the US military and must be confirmed by the Senate.
She is currently commander for the Pacific Air Forces and enrolled in the Air Force in 1982.
“General Robinson, it just so happens, would also be the first ever female combatant commander,” Mr Carter said at an event in Washington hosted by Politico.
“That shows yet another thing – which is that we have, coming along now, a lot of female officers who are exceptionally strong. And Lori certainly fits into that category.”
The US Northern Command oversees all of North America.
US media reported that Ms Robinson would be the likely choice in January. If appointed, she would replace Admiral Bill Gortney, who has had the position since 2014.
In December of last year Mr Carter opened all combat roles in the US military to women.
“America’s force of the future,” he said, must be able to benefit from the “broadest possible pool of talent”.
The move opened up about 220,000 positions to women.