US President Donald Trump announced Saturday that he was tapping four-star General Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, to replace outgoing Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joe Dunford.
A Princeton-educated Green Beret, Milley has served multiple combat tours in Panama, Iraq and Afghanistan during his 38-year career.
The officials confirmed the decision Friday on condition of anonymity because it had not been announced.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff is made up of the heads of the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and National Guard. After the deadly white nationalist protest in Charlottesville in August 2017, Mr. Trump incited criticism by saying there were "good people on both sides" of the protest. However, one of the officials who spoke with Stars and Stripes said Trump favored Milley's personality.
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Trump, who often likes to build drama and suspense by teasing his decisions, tells reporters at the White House Friday that he's going to be making an announcement at Saturday's Army-Navy game in Philadelphia. He later commanded the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum in NY, the III Corps at Fort Hood in Texas, and U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg in North Carolina before taking the reins as chief of staff in August 2015.
Dunford was picked as chairman of the Joint Chiefs in 2015 by former President Barack Obama.
The Milley move starts a series of military leadership changes in coming months, including successors in 2019 for Adm. John Richardson as the chief of naval operations, Gen. Robert Neller as commandant of the Marine Corps, and Air Force Gen. Paul Selva as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
If chosen, Milley would succeed the current chairman, Gen. Joseph Dunford, whose term expires later next year.