Locklear Nominated as Next Pacom Commander
By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 30, 2011 Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced Dec. 28 that President Barack Obama has nominated Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III for reappointment to the rank of admiral and for assignment as commander, U.S. Pacific Command, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Locklear is currently serving as commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe; commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa; and commander, Allied Joint Forces Command, Naples, Italy.
Pacific Command is likely to assume increasing importance in the coming years, as senior government officials including Obama, Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton have all spoken in recent months about the Asia-Pacific region’s increasing strategic importance.
During a visit to the region in November, Obama said as the United States plans for the future, “we will allocate the resources necessary to maintain our strong military presence in this region. We will preserve our unique ability to project power and deter threats to peace.”
The nation’s enduring interest in the Pacific region requires its enduring presence, the president said. “The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay,” he added.
Locklear this year commanded Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, the U.S. part of the coalition effort aimed at protecting the people of Libya from forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi and establishing a no-fly zone over the nation. The overall name of the NATO-led operation was Operation Unified Protector.
Locklear graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1977. His career as a surface warfare officer culminated in command of the USS Leftwich. Subsequent fleet command assignments include commander, Destroyer Squadron Two; commander, Nimitz Strike Group; and commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet.
Locklear has served ashore as executive assistant to the vice chief of naval operations; the 78th commandant of midshipmen, U.S. Naval Academy; director, assessment division; and director, programming division. Before his current assignment, he served as director of the Navy Staff from July 2, 2009, to Sept. 10, 2010.
Locklear is a 1992 graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and holds a master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University.
If confirmed as Pacom commander, Locklear will replace Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard, who has served in that position since Oct. 19, 2009.