WASHINGTON — Army Gen. Mark Milley will be the 20th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, following an 89-1 vote in the Senate Thursday.
Milley, the former Army chief of staff, is expected to replace Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford as the nation’s top uniformed officer sometime in September. He will work again beside newly installed Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. The two worked side by side for two years, when Esper was Army secretary.
Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, was the lone no vote.
In late 2018, the expectation was that either Milley or Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein would be the choice of next chairman. Goldfein was reportedly backed by Dunford and then-Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, but Milley appealed to Trump — so much so that the president announced his choice in December, a shock given that Dunford had nine months left of service before he was due to retire.
With Milley’s confirmation, half of the 20 chairman will have come from the Army. Four have come from the Air Force, four from the Navy, and two from the Marines. As nominee, Milley has thrown his support behind nuclear modernization and new capabilities for information warfare.
A native of Winchester, Massachusetts, and a fervent supporter of the Boston Bruins and other city teams, Milley received his Army commission from Princeton University in 1980.
Milley is an infantry officer by training and commanded Special Forces units in a career that included deployments in the Iraq war, the multinational mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina to implement the Dayton Peace Accords, and the invasion of Panama in 1989.
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.
Joe Gould is the Congress and industry reporter at Defense News, covering defense budget and policy matters on Capitol Hill as well as industry news.