General Anthony Cotton, USAF Commander, U.S. Strategic Command

General Anthony Cotton, USAF

Commander, U.S. Strategic Command

Anthony James Cotton is from Dudley, North Carolina. He is a graduate of the North Carolina State University and was commissioned into the Air Force through ROTC.

He commanded the 20th Air Force, served as deputy director of the National Reconnaissance Office, and then as senior military assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. He commanded various wings and operation groups before he was nominated to head the U.S. Strategic Command in June 2022. Cotton was confirmed by the Senate in September and assumed command in December 2022.

In the News…

General Anthony Cotton, Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee this month, stating that the increase in military cooperation by U.S. adversaries is raising the possibility of “simultaneous conflicts with multiple nuclear-armed adversaries.”

General Cotton said, “We are confronting not one, but two nuclear peers — the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China. This reality, combined by missile developments in North Korea, Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the growing relationships amongst those nations, adds new layers of complexity to our strategic calculus.”

He highlighted the growing missile development of North Korea, saying, “DPRK leadership recently declared that the country’s status as a nuclear weapons state ‘has now become irreversible,’ and it is possible the DPRK will resume nuclear testing in order to demonstrate its capabilities.”

After outlining the growing concerns regarding these nations, General Cotton concluded, “The men and women that represent U.S. Strategic Command are ready to defend … if strategic deterrence failure happens tonight, we are ready today.”


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