The Senate on Thursday confirmed Gen. Mark A. Milley to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, replacing Gen. Joseph Dunford as the Pentagon’s top uniformed officer and filling another key post at the top of the military command.
The Army general will take over from Gen. Dunford, who has held the chairman position since 2015, when the four-star Marine Corps general’s second term ends on October 1.
After receiving bipartisan backing from the Senate Armed Services earlier this month, Gen. Milley was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday by a 89-1 margin. Sen. Jeff Merkley, Oregon Democrat, was the only vote against the nomination.
Gen. Milley has held command assignments with the 82nd Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne Division, the 5th Special Forces Group and III Corps. He served three combat command tours in Iraq and was the head of the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan.
In his confirmation hearing this month, Gen. Milley warned it would be a “strategic mistake” to prematurely pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan and that the international order is facing its greatest challenges since the fall of the Soviet Union.
During his tenure as Army chief of staff, Gen. Milley oversaw the move of women into front-line infantry and combat positions. He also spearheaded the opening of the Army Futures Command in Austin, Texas.
Gen. Milley’s confirmation is the second high-level Pentagon role to be approved this week after the Senate on Tuesday confirmed former Army Secretary Mark Esper to be defense secretary.
After months of frustration from lawmakers over the record high number of vacant top spots at the Defense Department, the Senate is moving forward on several of President Trump’s picks.
The committee approved and sent to the full Senate the nomination of Pentagon comptroller David Norquist to be the deputy defense secretary and is expected to take up soon the selection of Gen. John Hyten to be the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.