Lt. General Michael E. Langley has been confirmed by the US Congress as the first black four-star general in its 246 year history. According to the Marine Corps, he will lead AFRICOM and all U.S. military forces in Africa from its base in Stuttgart, Germany. The command will be about 6,000 troops.
President Biden nominated Langley to the post in June.
During the confirmation hearings, Langley told senators he agreed that defending against
Russia’s growing influence will be a priority for his command. Russia has expanded its influence throughout the continent, from sending its Wagner paramilitary corporation to Sudan, the Central African Republic, Madagascar, Libya, Mozambique, and Mali. They are trying to prop up authoritarian governments in crisis in exchange for taking control of those countries’ resource wealth. Langley was told by senators that his command will require not just a strategic military mindset but also diplomacy to combat this threat effectively.
The Marine Corps has been trying to improve both diversity and long-term retention within its ranks. Its response plan, titled Talent Management 2030, will try to decrease turnover within the ranks, where about 75 percent of troops leave the Marine Corps at the end of their term. The Marines also have the lowest rates of women in the armed forces, with only about 10 percent of roles filled by women.
A 2021 report found that minority Marines are over-represented in support occupational
specialties, which are less likely for promotion through the Corps’ ranks. Average 5 year
promotion rates are higher in every leadership category for white Marines then black Marines. President Biden nominated Lloyd Austin as the Secretary of Defense, the first black man to hold the position.
Langley comes from a military family, where his father is retired U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Willie C. Langley, who served in the Air Force for 25 years. Langley graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington and holds multiple masters degrees, from the U.S. Naval War College and the U.S. Army War College.
-Written by GoodHistory Contributor Alexander Korfiatis