Milley Confirmed as 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Gen. Mark Milley speaks at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 11, 2019, for reappointment to the grade of general and to be Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Gen. Mark Milley speaks at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 11, 2019, for reappointment to the grade of general and to be Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON -- The Senate on Thursday confirmed Gen. Mark Milley to be the 20th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the latest confirmation to fill several key leadership positions in the Defense Department.

Milley was confirmed in an 89-1 vote by the Senate. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, was the sole vote against him.

Milley, the Army's chief of staff, was nominated in April to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs, replacing Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, who will serve through September, having been the chairman since 2015.

Gen. James McConville, the vice chief of staff of the Army, was confirmed in May by the Senate to replace Milley as Army chief of staff.

Milley's nomination was approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, along with Mark Esper, who is now the defense secretary.

Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee have been outspoken about vacancies in key leadership positions at the Pentagon, and have recently set up several confirmation hearings and votes to fill the jobs quickly as their month-long August recess approaches.

One upcoming hearing will be for Air Force Gen. John Hyten, who has been nominated to be the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Questions about Hyten were raised by senators after sexual misconduct allegations by a former military aide were reported recently. A military investigation found insufficient evidence to charge Hyten or punish him administratively, according to a report by The Associated Press.

His accuser testified this week in a closed-door meeting with senators, according to CQ Roll Call. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the publication that the committee will have a briefing sometime before Friday about Hyten's nomination.

Milley, who is a Princeton graduate and a Green Beret, has served multiple combat tours in Panama, Iraq and Afghanistan during his 38-year career. He served in the 5th Special Force Group, the 82nd Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne Division and the 3rd Infantry Division. He later commanded the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York; the III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas; and U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, before becoming chief of staff in August 2015.

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