Gen. Milley poised to take over as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs in 2019

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Daniel Gouré, senior vice president of the Lexington Institute, discusses Trump’s choice for the next head of the Joint Chiefs, and what’s on the horizon for the military leaders.


The new year brings new leadership for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. President Trump announced at last month’s Army-Navy football game that the new chair would be Army Chief Mark Milley. If confirmed by the Senate, Milley would assume the role in October. Daniel Gouré, senior vice president of the Lexington Institute, says that Trump’s decision breaks a tradition for the position.

“It’s in the sense of bringing the Army ‘in.’ It has been sort of a Navy/Marine Corps ownership and now you bring the Army in when it should have been by rotation, the Air Force. Gen. Goldfein could have been the expected candidate if he was next in the queue, but he wasn’t.”

Gouré said that Trump most likely chose Milley because he is an “agent of change.”

“He created a whole new series of modernization priorities, pushed the enterprise towards that. He has talked about changing the way acquisition is done and berated the system about things like finding a new handgun. ‘I can go down to Cabela’s and do it on my own, what do I need this for?’” Gouré said. “In that sense, [Milley] is the sort of person who doesn’t want to go along… He doesn’t want to see the system just stay as it is. He is very much in the Trump mold.”