UPDATE — This story was updated to include comment from the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.
CORRECTION — Gen. Selva has served two consecutive two-year terms.
WASHINGTON — The next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will be Air Force Gen. John Hyten, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson announced April 9 during a speech at the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Hyten has served as the commander of U.S. Strategic Command since November 2016. He previously headed Air Force Space Command. He will replace Gen. Paul Selva who is retiring as his second two-year term as vice chairman ends.
The general’s nomination was sent to Capitol Hill on April 8 for consideration.
Hyten will take up the job alongside current Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, who was picked late last year to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, succeeding Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford.
The nomination could be seen as a consolation prize for the Air Force because it was considered due to have a chairman from its ranks. This will be the second vice chairman from the Air Force in a row.
In Hyten’s role as U.S. Strategic Command chief, he’s been a vocal proponent of space-based missile defense sensors and has said the Pentagon has moved too slowly to develop a constellation of sensors that could effectively defend against emerging Russian and Chinese threats.
He’s also expressed concern that Russia is developing new strategic weapons outside of the New START treaty, set to expire in 2021.
The White House and the Pentagon also shepherded in a new Nuclear Posture Review during Hyten’s tenure.
The ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry, reacted positively to the news, saying Hyten would "do a terrific job.
“If you think about the key role that position plays about the future of warfare, coming from StratCom and all of his expertise,” Thornberry said. “I think he has the background experience but also he has the guts to say, ‘We’ve got to change this.’”
Aaron Mehta, Joe Gould and Tara Copp contributed to this report.
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.