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US Air Force Gen. John Hyten now No. 2 on Joint Chiefs of Staff

General John Hyten, Air Force Space Command commander, addresses Team Pete at an all call at the base auditorium on Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., Aug. 4, 2016. (Airman 1st Class Dennis Hoffman/U.S. Air Force)
September 27, 2019

U.S. Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, the former head of the U.S. Strategic Command who grew up in Huntsville, has been confirmed as vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Senate approved Hyten today on a vote of 75-22 over opposition that included nine Democratic women senators.

Hyten’s nomination had been held up for months after a former aide, Army Col. Kathryn Spletstoser, accused him of sexual assault. Hyten denied the allegations and an investigation found no evidence to back up the charge.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said his committee did a thorough investigation of the charges including interviews with at least 50 witnesses. He said he had full confidence in Hyten.

Hyten wasn’t born in Huntsville but moved to the city in 1965 where his father worked for NASA on the Saturn V rocket. He graduated from Grissom High School and earned an undergraduate degree in engineering from Harvard and an MBA from Auburn University at Montgomery.

Hyten headed the Air Force Space Command and is an advocate of space-based defenses for U.S. assets. He has been a regular visitor to the city to attend space-related military events.

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