Trump announces Army general as next Joint Chiefs chairman
President Donald Trump announced Saturday that he would nominate Army Gen. Mark Milley as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, giving the president a critical opportunity to leave his imprint on the U.S. military by choosing its top officer.
In a pair of morning tweets, Trump said the transition date was to be determined. Milley is a four-star general who serves as Army chief of staff. Chairman Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. is scheduled to retire next fall.
"I am thankful to both of these incredible men for their service to our Country!" Trump tweeted Saturday.
Milley's nomination will need to be confirmed by the Senate, which is unlikely to hold hearings for him or other just-announced presidential nominees before the new Senate convenes on Jan. 3.
"We are aware of the president's nomination and share his confidence for Gen. Mark Milley, chief of staff of the United States Army, to be the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff," Air Force Lt. Col. Mike Andrews, a Pentagon spokesman, said Saturday. "The Department of Defense remains fully focused on defending our nation."
The Joint Chiefs chairman oversees global military operations and is the president's main adviser on military matters.
A veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Milley as Army chief championed a plan to create specialized units to train local forces in Afghanistan. He also worked to improve the Army's readiness.
Congressional Republicans on Saturday applauded Trump's decision to tap Milley. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, praised the nominee's "direct, insightful military assessments based upon his intellect and years of experience."
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called him Milley a battle-tested commander and Pentagon reformer "who will be a worthy successor to Gen. Dunford."
Some Pentagon officials expected the Joint Chiefs chairman to be selected from the Air Force, considering the informal rotation among the services. Dunford, a former Marine Corps commandant, succeeded Army Gen. Martin Dempsey as chairman in 2015.
Stories that may interest you
Kushner seeks support from absent and protesting Palestinians for $50 billion economic support plan
The U.S. military says 2 service members have been killed in Afghanistan
A quick-thinking high school teacher who subdued a student as he fired a gun in the school cafeteria is one of 18 people being honored with Carnegie Medals for heroism
A widening scandal over unsanitary conditions for children at a U.S. Border Patrol facility in Texas sparked resignations, replacements and last-minute vote-wrangling Tuesday as the Trump administration and Congress scrambled to respond to a crush at the border.