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Trump names Gen. Mark Milley as Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, replacing Gen. Joseph Dunford

President Donald Trump shakes hands with U.S. Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley following the 9/11 Observance Ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Sept. 11, 2017. (Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith/Department of Defense)
December 08, 2018

President Trump has named a replacement for Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford in a cabinet shakeup this week.

Trump officially announced Saturday that he has selected Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to replace Dunford as Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“I am pleased to announce my nomination of four-star General Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the United States Army – as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, replacing General Joe Dunford, who will be retiring,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning.

“I am thankful to both of these incredible men for their service to our Country! Date of transition to be determined,” he added.

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News of the pick first released on Friday when Trump hinted at the announcement while revealing other new officials – William Barr for Attorney General, and Heather Nauert to replace the departing Nikki Haley as U.N. Ambassador.

“I have another one for tomorrow that I’m going to be announcing at the Army-Navy game,” Trump said Friday, according to Fox News. “I can give you a little hint: It will have to do with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and succession.”

Trump took to Twitter to make the announcement several hours before the game.

Dunford’s term is not expected to end until Oct. 1, 2019, however.

He was originally nominated to the position by former President Barack Obama in 2015 to serve a four-year term, but in 2016, Congress reduced the position’s term to two years. Before his term expired, Trump nominated Dunford to serve an additional two years in the position.

It’s unclear if Dunford will serve until his Oct. 1 term deadline, or if he will exit the position sooner in light of the early announcement.

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Dunford’s forthcoming successor, Milley, has served as Army chief of staff since 2015. Prior to that, he was the Army Forces commander at Fort Bragg, and held additionally commander and leadership positions on deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.

After graduation from Princeton University, Milley was commissioned in 1980, according to his Department of Defense bio. His military career has been one filled with deployments, numerous leadership positions, and extensive awards and accolades. Most of his operations have been in Infantry and Special Forces.

When Milley became the Army’s Chief of Staff, he explained some of his top priorities for the branch.

“As your Chief of Staff I will ensure that we remain ready, as the world’s premier combat force,” said Milley at the time, according to the Army. “Readiness to fight and win in ground combat is, and will remain, the United States Army’s number one priority.”

“As America, we have no luxury of a single opponent,” he explained. “We have to be able to fight guerrillas and terrorists all the way up through nation-state militaries. If we do not maintain our commitment to remain strong in the air, on the sea and yes, on the ground, then we will pay the butcher’s bill in blood, and we will forever lose the precious gift of our freedom.”

“There is no cheap way to change, and more importantly, there is no cheap way to buy freedom,” he said. “The only thing more expensive than fighting and winning a war is fighting and losing a war, and fighting and winning a war is what the United States Army is all about.”