In early move, Trump chooses chief of the Army to be top mil­i­tary ad­viser

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Lolita C. Bal­dor and Robert Burns

WASH­ING­TON» Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump will tap Gen. Mark Mil­ley as his next top mil­i­tary ad­viser, choos­ing a bat­tle-hard­ened com­man­der who has served as chief of the Army for the past three years, U.S. of­fi­cials said Fri­day.

If con­firmed by the Se­nate, Mil­ley would suc­ceed Ma­rine Gen. Joseph Dun­ford as chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the pin­na­cle of a mil­i­tary ca­reer. Dun­ford, a for­mer com­man­dant of the Ma­rine Corps and com­man­der of coali­tion troops in Afghanistan, is ex­pected to serve out his term as Joint Chiefs chair­man, which ends Oct. 1.

Mil­ley, who com­manded troops dur­ing sev­eral tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, has served as the Army’s top of­fi­cer since Au­gust 2015.

Trump is ex­pected to an­nounce his de­ci­sion Satur­day at the Army-Navy foot­ball game in Philadel­phia.

The de­ci­sion caught some in the Pen­tagon by sur­prise Fri­day. Nor­mally an an­nounce­ment on a new chair­man wouldn’t be ex­pected un­til early next year. The of­fi­cials said the Air Force chief, Gen. David Gold­fein, was also a strong con­tender for the job, but they in­di­cated that Mil­ley has a very good re­la­tion­ship with the pres­i­dent.

Trump hinted ear­lier Fri­day that he would be mak­ing an an­nounce­ment on Satur­day, when he at­tends the game and is ex­pected to per­form the coin toss to de­cide which team gets the ball first. “I can give you a lit­tle hint: It will have to do with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and suc­ces­sion,” he said.

Mil­ley is known as a charis­matic, out­go­ing leader who has not been afraid to of­fer can­did and some­times blunt as­sess­ments to Congress. Last year he ad­mon­ished the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee for its in­abil­ity to ap­prove a de­fense bud­get, slam­ming it as “pro­fes­sional mal­prac­tice.” And in 2016, he told law­mak­ers that women should also have to reg­is­ter for the draft now that they are al­lowed to serve in all com­bat jobs.

As the Army’s top leader, he helped shep­herd the ground­break­ing move of women into front-line in­fantry and other com­bat po­si­tions, while warn­ing that it would take time to do it right.

An­drew Harnik, As­so­ci­ated Press file

Gen. Mark Mil­ley, Army chief of staff, speaks to the Se­nate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee in May 2017 about the Army’s bud­get for this year.

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