Kennedy confirmed as Air Force cyber boss

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WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed a new leader for the U.S. Air Force’s information warfare branch, the latest move in a shuffling of cybersecurity leadership in the military.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Kevin Kennedy was approved by voice vote to head up the 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) and receive his third star on June 23, roughly one month after President Joe Biden nominated him.

He did not undergo a confirmation hearing. The Senate Armed Services Committee advanced his nomination earlier this month.

The 16th Air Force was created in late 2019, after the service combined and deactivated the 24th Air Force and the 25th Air Force. The 16th Air Force is an amalgam of cyber, electronic warfare, intelligence and weather disciplines.

Officials at the time of its creation said the force would better position the Air Force for a new age of warfare, one that increasingly relies on influence campaigns and skirmishes below the threshold of armed, bloody conflict.

Kennedy succeeds Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, who lawmakers in May confirmed as the latest deputy of U.S. Cyber Command, or CYBERCOM, a unified combatant command that guards Pentagon information networks and coordinates cyberspace operations.

Kennedy previously served as the director of operations for CYBERCOM, beginning in 2020.

Senators this year also confirmed a new head for Army Cyber Command as well as a new chief of Navy Fleet Cyber Command.