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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 15, 1995


I am pleased to announce that I have nominated General Joseph W. Ralston, U.S. Air Force for assignment as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, succeeding Admiral William A. Owens, who is retiring.

General Ralston currently serves as the Commander, Air Combat Command. In this capacity, he is responsible for training and equipping all active Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve combat wings and squadrons in the United States and Panama. During his distinguished career, General Ralston flew more than 2,500 flying hours, including 147 combat missions over Laos and North Vietnam. He also served as the Air Force's Director for Tactical Programs and its Director for Operational Requirements. In the latter capacity, his championing of the rapid transition of advanced technology to the battlefield was instrumental in determining the shape and force structure of tomorrow's Air Forces. General Ralston brings to the job of Vice Chairman a wealth of experience in the development of military requirements and an in-depth knowledge of the Defense acquisition process. These and other attributes provide General Ralston the requisite leadership and management necessary for the post of Vice Chairman at a critical time in the history of the Armed Forces.

I will depend upon General Ralston to continue the initiatives of Admiral Owens which are designed to ensure that our Armed Forces best determine their warfighting requirements and capabilities. I commend Admiral Owens for his exemplary service to his Nation. His sound military advice on the use of military power to back U.S. diplomacy, his crucial role in shaping our forces to fight as a joint team, and the superlative leadership he provided in harnessing the information and technological revolution to our current and future defense posture will ensure that our military will remain the best in the world as we enter the 21st Century. Admiral Owens will truly be missed in the senior decision-making ranks of our national security structure. Hillary and I join in wishing him the very best as he begins a new phase of his life.

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