It's Official: Army's Top Officer Nominated to Be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs

FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2016 photo, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2016 photo, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

In confirmation of a move first announced by President Donald Trump via tweet last December, the Pentagon confirmed Tuesday that Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has been nominated to succeed Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dunford will reach the end of his four-year tenure as chairman this fall.

"I am thankful to both of these incredible men for their service to our Country! Date of transition to be determined," Trump tweeted Dec. 8, 2018.

In a news release Tuesday afternoon, the Pentagon also confirmed that Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, has been nominated as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs. That development was first announced earlier Tuesday afternoon by outgoing Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.

Milley, who has served as the Army's top officer since August 2015, is a career infantry officer with 39 years of service, having received his commission in 1980.

He previously served as commander of U.S. Army Forces Command and served a tour in Afghanistan as commanding general of International Security Assistance Force Joint Command and deputy commanding general of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, one of three deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Other operational deployments include a tour in Iraq and service in Egypt, Panama, Haiti, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Somalia and Colombia.

A four-time Bronze Star recipient, Milley also holds the Combat Infantryman Badge with star; Expert Infantryman Badge; Master Parachutist Badge; Scuba Diver Badge; Ranger Tab; and Special Forces Tab, according to his official biography.

As chief of staff, Milley has been a major force for advancing Army technology, spearheading efforts to ramp up readiness and develop six modernization priorities, including long-range precision fires, a next-generation combat vehicle, future vertical lift, air and missile defense, Army network, and soldier lethality.

He oversaw an effort to extend Army entry-level infantry training in order to professionalize young soldiers and improve their skills, and has been at the forefront of a slate of new recruiting initiatives in the wake of a service recruiting shortfall last year.

Milley also charged ahead with the rollout of a long-anticipated new gender- and age-neutral Army fitness test, which will be mandatory for all soldiers by 2020.

"Combat is not for the faint of heart, it's not for the weak-kneed, it's not for those who are not psychologically resilient and tough and hardened to the brutality, to the viciousness of it," he told reporters in October 2018. "We've got to get this Army hard, and we've got to get it hard fast."

Milley appeared on Capitol Hill before the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday with Army Secretary Mark Esper to discuss the service's fiscal 2020 budget requirements.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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