President Trump will nominate Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the president tweeted on Saturday.
If confirmed by the Senate, Milley would replace Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, who is slated to retire on Oct. 1. However, the president tweeted the “date of transition to be determined.”
It was not immediately clear whether the president meant that Dunford could retire earlier than expected.
“I am thankful to both of these incredible men for their service to our Country!” Trump tweeted.
As of Saturday morning, Trump had given no indications of exactly when Milley would take over for Dunford, if conformed.
“Gen. Dunford congratulates Gen. Milley on his selection as the nominee to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” said Dunford’s spokesman Air Force Col. Patrick Ryder. “He has served with Gen. Milley in peacetime and in combat and has the highest regard for his leadership.”
Trump picked Milley over the recommendation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, who preferred Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein for the job, the Washington Post reported.
When asked if Trump did not listen to Mattis on this matter, Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White declined to discuss Mattis’ discussions with the resident.
“The secretary's advice and counsel to the president are private,” White told Task & Purpose on Friday.
The Pentagon issued a brief statement on Saturday acknowledging Trump's announcement that he would nominate Milley as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"We are aware of the president's nomination and share his confidence for Gen. Mark Milley, chief of staff of the United States Army, to be the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” said Pentagon spokesman Air Force Lt. Col. Mike Andrews. “The Department of Defense remains fully focused on defending our nation.”
An aerial view of the Pentagon building in Washington, June 15, 2005. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended the Guantanamo prison against critics who want it closed by saying U.S. taxpayers have a big financial stake in it and no other facility could replace it at a Pentagon briefing on Tuesday. (Reuters/Jason Reed JIR/CN)
The Pentagon is sending nearly 1,000 more troops to the Middle East as part of an escalating crisis with Iran that defense officials are struggling to explain.
The Marine lieutenant colonel removed from command of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May was ousted over alleged "misconduct" but has not been charged with a crime, Task & Purpose has learned.
Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.
"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.
The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.
On Monday, Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans received a suspended sentence of 60 days in jail, said Samantha Dooies, an assistant to the New Hanover County District Attorney.
Evans must complete 18 months of unsupervised probation, pay $8,000 in restitution, complete a domestic violence offenders program, and he cannot have any contact with his former girlfriend, Dooies told Task & Purpose. The special operations Marine is also only allowed to have access to firearms though the military while on base or deployed.