The Senate confirmed Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., USMC, to be the 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) last week before adjourning for the summer recess. Dunford will replace Gen. Martin Dempsey.
Dunford was nominated by President Obama in May to replace current CJCS Gen. Martin Dempsey when his term ends later this year. At that time the president said Dunford “is one of our military’s most highly regarded strategic thinkers” and “is known and respected by our allies, members of Congress—on both sides of the aisle—and by colleagues across our government.”
Although Dunford’s confirmation was held up briefly by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) because she had not received information on sexual assaults in military installations. Even so, Gillibrand stressed that her hold was not about Dunford’s qualifications.
Gen. Dunford is currently the 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps, a position he has held since October 2014. Before becoming Commandant, Dunford was the Commander International Security Assistance Force and United States Forces – Afghanistan. He has served in joint assignments as Executive Assistant to the Vice-Chairman JCS, Chief of the Global and Multilateral Affairs Division (J5), and Vice Director for Operations (J3). Dunford has also commanded the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines, the 5th Marine Regiment, I Marine Expeditionary Force, and Marine Forces Central Command.
The Senate also confirmed Gen. Paul J. Silva, USAF, to be the next Vice Chairman of the JCS. Gen. Selva will replace Adm. James “Sandy” Winnefeld, Jr. whose term will also end soon. Gen. Selva is currently Commander of the U.S. Transportation Command. Prior to that, he served as Commander of the Air Mobility Command, Vice commander Pacific Air Forces, Commander Tanker Airlift Control Center, Commander 62nd Airlift Air Wing, and Commander 60th Operations Group.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter praised the confirmation of both Dunford and Selva. “Both have proven their mettle throughout their careers—from Gen. Dunford’s first years as an infantryman to his leadership both in Afghanistan and of the Marine Corps, and from General Selva’s early days as a pilot to his leadership of our military’s transportation command.” Carter said from the Pentagon.