WASHINGTON — It appears that U.S. Strategic Command will soon be back in the hands of a Navy officer.

Vice Admiral Charles Richard has been tapped to serve as the next head of StratCom, which oversees the nation’s nuclear arsenal and is headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base south of Omaha.

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination next week. Richard, an Alabama native, previously served as StratCom’s deputy commander.

“As a former deputy commander of StratCom, Admiral Richard understands the responsibilities of the command and its mission well,” Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., said Thursday in a press release. “With threats from Russia and China continuing to grow, nuclear deterrence is becoming more important than ever and StratCom requires experienced and capable leadership.”

Fischer is the chairwoman of the subcommittee that oversees U.S. strategic forces.

Richard will succeed the current commander, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, who was confirmed by the Senate last month as the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Richard earned master’s degrees with honors from the Catholic University of America and the Naval War College, according to the Navy.

Richard served in the Navy’s submarine service for more than 30 years and assumed command of Submarine Forces last year at a ceremony in Norfolk, Virginia.

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During that ceremony, he talked about the importance of U.S. capabilities under the waves.

“We are back in a world that is in the midst of major power competition, something that we have not seen in many decades,” he said. “And in that competition, our strength undersea is a key advantage that we have.”

Richard also urged the men and women serving under him to prepare for battle.

“It is only by being prepared for battle that we can hope to avoid it,” he said. “And if we cannot, our nation expects and demands victory. We shall not fail.”

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Reporter - Politics/Washington D.C.

Joseph Morton is The World-Herald Washington Bureau Chief. Morton joined The World-Herald in 1999 and has been reporting from Washington for the newspaper since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @MortonOWH. Email:joseph.morton@owh.com

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