U.S. Army General Mark Milley was sworn in as the 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Monday, September 30.
Milley, who formerly served as Army Chief of Staff, replaced U.S. Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, who was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2015.
As Chairman, Milley will serve as chief advisor on military matters to U.S. President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and the National Security Council, and will serve for four years in the position under a new law passed in 2017.
A graduate of Princeton University’s Army ROTC program who later earned a master’s in international relations at Columbia, Milley has deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama, Somalia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and is a veteran of the Army’s 5th Special Forces Group, 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions and the 3rd Infantry Division.
In his 38-year career Milley has commanded the 10th Mountain Division, the Army’s III Corps and U.S. Army Forces Command.
Appointed Army Chief of Staff in 2015, Milley was later “instrumental” in the establishment of U.S. Army Futures Command, Esper said during the ceremony on Monday.
Declared fully operational in July, Army Futures Command was granted a FY2020 $30 billion budget to modernize the U.S. Army.
Both Esper and his predecessor, James Mattis, requested increased defense budgets, assessing that “near-peer” competitors Russia and China have closed the U.S.’ military superiority gap since the Pentagon’s focus on counterinsurgency since 2001.
“We are the best-equipped, best-trained, best-led military in human history,” Milley said during the ceremony.
“Our adversaries should know: never underestimate our skill, our capability and our combat power. And we will remain the world’s premiere fighting force,” Milley said.
“We will do this by emphasizing readiness and modernization of the joint force all while providing unwavering support, care and leadership for our troops and their families.”
Trump first hinted that he would select Milley for the military’s highest ranking position in December 2018, nine months before Dunford’s scheduled retirement.
The Senate in July overwhelmingly confirmed Milley, who expressed confidence when pressed about his preparedness for the military’s highest advisory role.
“We will not be intimidated into making stupid decisions,” Milley said during his confirmation hearing.
Mattis resigned in frustration with President Trump’s decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria in December 2018, but both Mattis and Dunford have been reluctant to publicly criticize Trump’s decisions.
The Senate confirmed General James McConville, the Army’s vice chief of staff, in May to fill Milley’s position.