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​Air Force Lt. Gen. Arnold W. Bunch, Jr., military deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, speaks to attendees during an AFA Counter-small UAS Symposium at the MITRE Corp., Bedford, Mass., on Sept 26. Air Force photo by Todd Maki.

​Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, USAF’s top uniformed acquisition official, has been nominated for a fourth star and to lead Air Force Materiel Command, the service announced Wednesday.  

Bunch’s official title is Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition. He serves as the military deputy to USAF acquisition chief Will Roper.

If confirmed, he would succeed Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, who retired as head of AFMC in September. Lt. Gen. Robert McMurry, head of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, has been the acting AFMC commander since Pawlikowski’s retirement. He will return to AFLCMC full time if Bunch is confirmed.

An Academy graduate and command pilot, Bunch is a graduate of the Air Force Test Pilot School and has extensive experience in program development. He served as the Program Executive Officer for fighters and bombers, commanded the Air Force Test Center at Edwards AFB, Calif., served as head of USAF’s Munitions Directorate and commanded the Air Force Security Assistance Center. The bulk of his flying time has been in the B-52 and B-2 bombers; he served as a developmental test pilot on both programs. He has commanded at the squadron, group, and wing levels.

Bunch would inherit an AFMC with more than 80,000 employees and a $60 billion budget, overseeing everything from the Air Force Research Laboratory to weapon system acquisition and sustainment, software development, test activities, and depots, as well as the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, co-located with AFMC’s headquarters at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

Among the challenges he will face at AFMC are recruiting and training professional contract and program managers, bringing the KC-46 tanker into service, overseeing the B-21 bomber development program, and raising the readiness of USAF aircraft, whose mission capable rates have fallen in recent years due to inadequate parts, maintainers, and flying hours.