Army snares two big wins over weekend, including top Pentagon post

Army Gen. Mark Milley, chief of staff of the Army, and Air Force Gen. David Goldfein, chief of staff of the Air Force, at the National Guard Association of the United States 140th General Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, Aug. 25, 2018 (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill)

WASHINGTON — Army had two big wins on Saturday. They beat Navy on the football field in the annual big-game rivalry and they beat Air Force for the top military uniformed position in the country.

On Saturday, President Trump said he is nominating Gen. Mark Milley, the current Army chief of staff, to replace Gen. Joe Dunford as chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dunford, a Marine, is scheduled to end his second two-year term in the post on October 1. Pentagon analysts said Trump’s early announcement makes Dunford somewhat of a lame duck in critical dealing with allies and the Russian.

Milley’s nomination requires Senate confirmation. If he is approved, as expected, he will serve a four-year term, under changes made to the tenure of the position made in 2017 legislation.

Neither Dunford nor Milley made any public comment on Trump’s announcement. Col. Patrick Ryder, a spokesperson for the Joint Staff, said in a statement to the media that ““General Dunford congratulates General Milley on his selection as the nominee to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has served with General Milley in peacetime and in combat and has the highest regard for his leadership.”

The two generals have different personalities but share a passion for the Boston Red Sox — both being natives of Massachusetts. Milley also has an ongoing debate with his civilian boss, Army Secretary Mark Esper, over the merits of the New England Patriots versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Milley has honed a reputation for being both a soldier’s soldier as well as a reformer — pushing a huge reorganization of the Army, adding new brigades and hybrid units, expanding research and development and stating clearly that all are welcome in the Army regardless of race, sex, national origin or sexual orientation.

He has served in Haiti, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, among other locations.

Trump Chose Miley over Air Force chief of staff Get. David Goldfein. Both men were interviewed Trump, and many in the Pentagon said Golden had a better chance, in part because of his early support for a space force and the fact that the Air Force has not held the chairman’s position since the early 2000s.

The decision on Milley is part of the start of a shift of major command positions with the Pentagon. This past week, the nominees to head Central Command and Special Operations Command appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Next year, senior military leaders scheduled to retire include Adm. John Richardson as head of Naval Operations, Gen. Robert Neller as Marine Corps commandant, and Air Force Gen. Paul Selva as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Trump also will select a replacement for Milley.

Under the law, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs must be from a different service branch from the chairman’s branch.

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