Obama nominates woman to be 1st-ever female dean of US Military Academy

US President Barack Obama attends the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner in Washington, on April 30, 2016.
US President Barack Obama attends the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner in Washington, on April 30, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - United States President Barack Obama has nominated a woman to become the United States Military Academy's first female dean in its 216-year history.

He named Ms Cindy Jebb, a graduate of the prestigious institution - also known as West Point - who currently heads its Social Sciences department, the school said in a statement on Friday (April 29). The nomination requires confirmation by the Senate.

"This is a historic time for our military and I'm excited for West Point to have its first woman has to hold this position," said Acting Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy.

If approved, Ms Jebb will be promoted to brigadier-general.

"She's revered amongst the faculty and cadets and we're lucky to have her," said West Point's superintendent, Lieutenant-General Robert Caslen.

In January, another woman, Brigadier-General Diana Holland, became the first female commandant of West Point's Corps of Cadets.

Women play an increasingly important role in the US military, making up around 15 per cent of personnel.

The Pentagon last year opened all combat positions to women, including elite special operations units.

In March, Mr Obama nominated Air Force General Lori Robinson to be the first woman to head a major US combatant command as head of the US Northern Command, responsible for the defense of the US homeland.