Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Weimer will serve as the Army's next top noncommissioned officer, Military.com confirmed Thursday. He'll take over as the service's 17th sergeant major of the Army in August 2023, replacing Michael Grinston, who is set to retire shortly after the handover.
The sergeant major of the Army is one of the service's most visible leaders, sitting at the intersection of soldiers' needs and policy and as the de facto public face for the enlisted ranks of the Pentagon's largest branch -- taking frequent questions from the press and testifying on Capitol Hill -- all while serving as the enlisted adviser for the Army secretary and chief of staff.
Weimer, who currently serves as the senior enlisted leader for U.S. Special Operations Command, joined the Army in 1993, earned his green beret in 1996 and served as a Special Forces weapons sergeant. He is a graduate of Norwich University, where he earned a bachelor's in strategic studies and defense analysis.
Some of his previous assignments include deployments with 7th Special Forces Group and Special Operations Command's operations sergeant major. His awards include the Legion of Merit; Bronze Star with two "V" devices and 5 oak leaf clusters; the Purple Heart; and the Joint Commendation Medal and Army Commendation Medal, both with a "V" device.
Weimer will take the helm at a critical time for the Army as it transitions from the Global War on Terrorism era to a force focused on preparing for a conventional fight against China, and as the service grapples with recruiting struggles while trying to make military service more hospitable for a diverse range of soldiers.
The Army is still hitting speed bumps implementing its troubled fitness test, the Army Combat Fitness Test, or ACFT. The weapons set to replace the M4 and M249 SAW will also start trickling into the force.
Grinston is largely seen as a transformational leader, pushing for policies and efforts behind the scenes to boost soldier quality of life. Part of that included frequently touring barracks known to have mold or other infrastructure issues. After his visit to Fort Bragg, North Carolina's troubled Smoke Bomb Hill barracks, the decision was quickly made to demolish a dozen buildings five years ahead of schedule.
He was also the hype man for the ACFT, pitching it to a skeptical rank and file -- often traveling to multiple installations a week and taking the test with the troops. Grinston is probably best known for his wielding of social media, where he and his staff are constantly available on Twitter, Instagram and Reddit and use those platforms to directly communicate with soldiers, even as the rest of the service struggles with what its social media footprint should look like.
-- Steve Beynon can be reached at Steve.Beynon@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.