For some time, holds on military confirmations appeared destined to send the services into the new year without confirmed chiefs.
Last fall, as four of the five Defense Department services and the Joint Chiefs of Staff prepared to welcome new leaders, a Republican senator from Alabama, Tommy Tuberville, was six months into his hold on senior military confirmations in protest of a Pentagon policy that allows paid leave and covers travel for reproductive health care access for service members.
It took until Nov. 2 for all four services and the Joint Chiefs to have new leadership confirmed, all of whom have been vice chiefs performing the role of two four-stars for weeks to months.
For the Army, Gen. Randy George was confirmed as the service’s chief of staff.
“The Army is doing a great job meeting all of our requirements globally,” George told Military Times in September. “I want us to continually look at how we get better at managing home station training, [operational tempo], and transformation so units have the appropriate time to meet their requirements and get the time they need to rest, refit, and stay connected with their families.”
On the Navy side, Adm. Lisa Franchetti’s confirmation made her the first woman to serve as chief of naval operations.
“The work of our Navy continues undisrupted and unabated,” she wrote in a message to the fleet as she awaited confirmation. “During this leadership transition, our core identity as sailors remains unchanged. We are forged by the sea and connected to each other through our core values of honor, courage, and commitment.”
Air Force Gen. David Allvin, meanwhile, took over the service’s chief of staff post from Gen. CQ Brown, who was named the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“My wife, Gina, and I are humbled by this opportunity, and we are eager to continue to serve our Air Force, our airmen and their families,” Allvin said in a statement after his promotion.
Marine Corps Gen. Eric Smith spent more than two months as his service’s acting commandant, receiving his official promotion in late September. Another month would elapse before his vice commandant was confirmed, a time during which Smith suffered a heart attack.
“Nobody should feel bad for me,” he told reporters Sept. 6. “I make plenty of money, and nobody usually yells at me, so that’s good. But it is not a sustainable thing when the last thing you do is flip your computer off at 11:30 at night and you’re getting up at 5 o’clock in the morning.”
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.