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US Strategic Command chief Gen. John Hyten, shown here at AFA's 2017 Air, Space & Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Md., has been nominated to become the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Staff photo by Mike Tsukamoto.

US Strategic Command chief Gen. John Hyten this week was nominated to become the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the second Air Force general in a row to hold the position. His nomination was submitted to the Senate April 8.

Hyten, a leading voice in the Pentagon’s space enterprise overhaul and for nuclear weapons modernization, stepped into the top STRATCOM job in November 2016. He also brings to the Joint Chiefs a background in space operations and procurement, as the former commander and vice commander of Air Force Space Command, as well as a former space acquisition official at Air Force headquarters.

Last year, Hyten also took over responsibility for building requirements for a new nuclear command, control, and communications portfolio and serves as the Defense Department’s top official overseeing the NC3 enterprise.

Choosing Hyten to be the second-highest ranking defense official emphasizes the Pentagon’s growing focus on strategic conflict with other advanced militaries like Russia and China under the new National Defense Strategy.