Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced today that the president has made the following nomination:
“Air Force Brig. Gen. Christopher F. Burne has been nominated for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and for assignment as the judge advocate general, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Burne is currently serving as the staff judge advocate, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.”
What is usual about this nomination is the officer in question skipped “one rank entirely” and was promoted to two star general. In other words a one star general was promoted to third star rank.
We contacted the Pentagon to make sure we read the details of this announcement correctly.
Officials refused to comment on this matter specifically, but did confirm the information in the announcement was correct.
The move is necessary to qualify him as the next judge advocate general of the Air Force.
Apparently this is not unusual. So we triple checked the press brief to make sure (source: http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=16393).
If confirmed by the United States Senate, Burne would start his new job in February, replacing outgoing Lt. Gen. Richard Harding, whose retirement is expected but the date has not been announced.
Burne joined the Air Force in 1983 and was assigned to the Eighth Air Force, according to his official military record. In 1987, he was assigned to Headquarters Strategic Air Command. He served as Offutt Air Force Basefrom 1989 until 1990, when he was assigned to Vandenberg Air Force Base. There, he was Deputy Staff Judge Advocate with the Western Space and Missile Center and the Twentieth Air Force. He would later deploy to serve in the Gulf War.
A native of Dunmore, Pennsylvania, Burne’s father was a decorated bombardier in World War II (source: http://archive.is/oGEM). Burne attended the University of Scranton and The Pennsylvania State University — Dickinson School of Law.
In 1993, Burne was stationed at Soesterberg Air Base in the Netherlands. Later he became Director, Operations Law, United States Central Command and Staff Judge Advocate of the 20th Fighter Wing.
Other assignments have included tours of duty at The Pentagon before his current assignment at Headquarters Air Combat Command. Following the September 11 attacks, he took part in organizing the Air Force’s mobilization and response.
Awards he has received include the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters and the Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster.
1980 Bachelor of Arts degree in history and law enforcement, University of Scranton, Pa.
1983 Juris Doctor, The Dickinson School of Law, Pa.
1986 Squadron Officer School, by correspondence
1993 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
1998 Air War College, by seminar
2003 Master of Science degree in national security strategy, National War College, Washington, D.C.