Former Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., was confirmed on Wednesday, July 29, as the incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, replacing the outgoing Army Gen. Martin Dempsey.
President Barack Obama tapped Dunford for the post on May 5, stating he was “one of the most admired officers in our military.”
The general’s confirmation followed a brief hitch between Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who is a critic of the military’s sexual assault policy, and Pentagon officials. She stalled the confirmation for about two days, which had nothing to do with Dunford’s credentials but rather with data availability on sexual assaults at large military bases.
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter assured her Wednesday morning that the data on sexual assaults would be made available soon. Dunford was confirmed hours later.
“I know Joe. I trust him,” Obama said. “He’s already proven his ability to give me his unvarnished military advice based on his experience on the ground.”
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said Dunford was an “outstanding selection.”
Dunford was the 36th commandant of the Marine Corps. He previously served as commander, International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan from February 2013 to August 2014. The general has served as an infantry officer at all levels. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, he commanded the 5th Marine Regiment.
Dunford will take over the top military spot on Oct. 1, when Dempsey is set to retire after a 41-year Army career.
Lt. Gen. Robert Neller is the Obama administration’s choice to succeed Dunford as 37th commandant of the Marine Corps, Carter announced July 1.