The New Joint Chiefs Face Significant Challenges As They Take Office

Photo by D. Myles Cullen

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford’s July 9 confirmation hearing as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will mark a significant change among the military’s top leaders. For the first time in 32 years, and the fourth time since the Department of Defense was founded in 1947, all of the joint chiefs will have left their posts within a 12-month period. Considering that most chiefs serve four-year terms and chairmen and vice chairmen serve two consecutive terms, the decisions they make have lasting impact, and their tenure will continue on to the next presidential administration.

For War on the Rocks, David Barno and Nora Bensahel write:

The new chiefs are coming to town at a major strategic juncture for the United States. The world is rapidly changing, and the power of the United States is increasingly being challenged around the world. Yet they must exhibit far-sighted leadership while simultaneously addressing today’s challenges. They must quickly begin to take steps to re-shape today’s combat-experienced military toward a different future — one marked by fast-moving global change, exploding technology, and new threats.

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