Senate confirms General Welsh as next Air Force chief of staff Published Aug. 2, 2012 WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, a 36-year veteran, will be the twentieth Air Force chief of staff, according to a Senate confirmation vote Aug. 2. Welsh provided testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee July 19, before the full Senate voted on his confirmation. Now the president must appoint the general before he can assume his new position. "I fully accept the responsibility to stand beside Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and lead the 690,000 active, Guard, Reserve and civilian Airmen who selflessly serve our nation as part of an unbeatable joint team," Welsh said. Pending the president's appointment, Welsh, who served as the U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander, will assume the position of Air Force chief of staff from Gen. Norton Schwartz in a ceremony Aug. 10. In his previous position, Welsh's command was responsible for Air Force activities, conducted through 3rd Air Force, in an area of operations covering almost one-fifth of the globe. This area includes 51 countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and the Arctic and Atlantic oceans with a total population reaching nearly one billion people speaking more than 80 languages. He also had administrative control of U.S. Air Forces Africa, providing support, logistics and resources to U.S. Africa Command. Welsh entered the Air Force in June 1976 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has been assigned to numerous operational, command and staff positions during his career.