Senate Confirms Milley as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs

Army Gen. Mark Milley addresses the audience at a January 2017 Army promotion ceremony at the Pentagon. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Chuck Burden.

The Senate on July 25 confirmed Army Gen. Mark Milley to be the 20th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in an overwhelmingly bipartisan, 89-1 vote.

Milley will take over for retiring Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, who has served as chairman since October 2015. Milley was serving as chief of staff of the Army when he was nominated for the promotion in early April.

“Our men and women in uniform will be well served by his superb leadership, intellect, operational experience and deep understanding of today’s national security challenges," Dunford said in a release.

During his July 11 confirmation hearing, Milley said he expects to lead the US military as it addresses major challenges, such as China’s rise in the Pacific. He will help oversee the possible creation of a Space Force and other major priorities, from modernizing the US nuclear arsenal to continued combat in the Middle East.

The smooth confirmation process mirrors that of new Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who was confirmed earlier this week, and Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist, who lawmakers supported during his confirmation hearing on July 24.

Milley’s possible deputy will face a tougher process. Air Force Gen. John Hyten, the current US Strategic Command boss and nominee to be the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, faces sexual assault allegations. Official charges were dropped after an Air Force investigation found insufficient evidence to back up the claims. The Senate Armed Services Committee met with Hyten’s accuser earlier this week and with the general on July 25. Hyten’s confirmation hearing is scheduled for July 30.