Senators confirmed Air Force Gen. Lori Robinson as the new head of U.S. Northern Command during wrap-up work late Thursday, making her the first woman to serve as a combatant commander.

Robinson's confirmation was approved without opposition before lawmakers started their weeklong congressional recess. Lawmakers also confirmed Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti to serve as the new head of U.S. European Command and Army Gen. Vincent Brooks to lead U.S. Forces Korea.

All of the nominees faced friendly questioning during their nomination hearings earlier this month, and positive reviews from members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Robinson previously served as commander of Pacific Air Forces. She is a senior air battle manager with more than 900 flight hours in the E-3B/C and E-8C aircraft, and has previously held leadership roles in U.S. Air Forces Central Command and Air Combat Command.

Earlier this month, Time listed her as one of its 100 most influential people for 2016. Iraq War veteran Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., wrote in the magazine that Robinson's appointment to the new post "makes clear to every female lieutenant that the top jobs are now open to them."

Scaparrotti, previously the top U.S. general in Korea, has served as director of the Joint Staff, deputy commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan and commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Brooks was serving as commander of U.S. Army Pacific before his new assignment and has held leadership posts in Germany, South Korea, Kosovo and the Middle East.

Confirmation for the three generals took slightly more than a month since their nominations were announced. Senators have not moved nearly as fast with civilian defense posts, with several service secretary positions staying vacant for months due to political infighting.

Leo Shane III covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He can be reached at

Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.

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