WASHINGTON – For the first time in American history a woman has been chosen for promotion to four-star general.
The Pentagon announced Monday that President Bush nominated Lt. Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody to head the Army Material Command, responsible for equipping, outfitting and arming soldiers throughout the Army.
If confirmed by the Senate, she would be the first woman to attain the rank of a full general. By law, the Army is limited to 11 active-duty four-stars, including the Army chief of staff, Gen. George Casey.
Women haven't reached four-star rank because by law they are excluded from serving in combat roles, which historically have been the path to the highest-ranking positions. That exclusion still applies, but with Dunwoody the Army has chosen to cast aside its customary limitations on promotion.
Dunwoody is one of only two female three-stars in the Army; the other is Lt. Gen. Kathleen Gainey, director of logistics on the Joint Staff.
"Her 33 years of service, highlighted by extraordinary leadership and devotion to duty, make her exceptionally qualified for this senior position," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in a statement.
Dunwoody currently is deputy commander of Army Materiel Command. Among her earlier assignments, she was commander of Army Combined Arms Support Command and the Army deputy chief of staff for logistics.
Dunwoody is a native of New York; she received her Army commission after graduating from the State University of New York in 1975.
"I am very honored but also very humbled today with this announcement," Dunwoody said. "I grew up in a family that didn't know what glass ceilings were. This nomination only reaffirms what I have known to be true about the military throughout my career — that the doors continue to open for men and women in uniform."