President Obama announced the nomination of Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. as the 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).  If confirmed by the Senate, Gen. Dunford will replace Gen. Paul Dempsey when his term ends later in the year.

Speaking from the White House Rose Garden, the president called Dunford “one of the most admired officers in our military.” “He 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,” the president said.

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). Gen. Dunford has commanded the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines, the 5th Marine Regiment, I Marine Expeditionary Force, and Marine Forces Central Command. Dunford has also served as assistant Division Commander of the 1st Marine Division, Marine Corps Director of Operations, and Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies, and Operations.

The president also announced the nomination of Gen. Paul Selva to be Vice-Chairman, JCS. Selva will replace Adm. James “Sandy” Winnefeld, Jr. whose term will end this fall. 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 said both nominees “are exemplary leaders” who have “strategic perspective—and operational experience to help guide our military and advise the president at a time of much change in the world.”

The president thanked Gen. Dempsey and Adm. Winnifeld for their service. “I’ve relied on you both—your advice, your counsel, your judgment,” he said. He praised them both for helping “to guide our forces through difficult times—especially sequestration.” He said they both “made sure that we’re recruiting and training, and equipping and training the best fighting force on the planet.”