8 August 2015

Senate finalizes Joint Chiefs overhaul

By Leo Shane III
August 5, 2015

The Senate confirmed the top new military leaders for the Army, Navy and Marine Corps on Wednesday, completing a summer overhaul of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Lawmakers approved the appointment of Gen. Mark Milley to be the new Army Chief of Staff, Adm. John Richardson to be the new Chief of Naval Operations and Lt. Gen. Robert Neller to be the new Marine Corps Commandant. The moves came in the waning hours of the summer Senate session, without any commentary from chamber leaders.

All three men received strong support from the Senate Armed Services Committee last month and public praise throughout Congress.

They join new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. and Vice Chairman Gen. Paul Selva, both confirmed last month by the Senate. All of the men are expected to formally assume their new roles in the next few weeks, as their predecessors retire or move on.

The moves give Defense Secretary Ash Carter – who was confirmed just six months ago – almost a completely new slate of military leaders with whom he can collaborate on his proposed personnel and organizational reforms.

Milley, the current head of U.S. Army Forces Command, is a 1980 Princeton University graduate who has served in leadership posts in seven divisions and Special Forces over the last 34 years. Among those posts was the role of deputy commanding general for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan.

Richardson is a 1982 Naval Academy graduate who holds a Masters Degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He currently serves as Director of Naval Reactors and previously lead U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa.

Neller is a 1975 University of Virginia graduate and the current leader of Marine Forces Command. Over his 40-year infantry career, he has served as commander of Marine Corps Central Command and deputy commanding general for operations for I Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq.

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