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Trump chooses new Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, against Mattis wishes

Trump chooses new Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, against Mattis wishes

Dunford, a former commandant of the Marine Corps, is expected to serve out his term as Joint Chiefs chairman, which ends next October 1. In a 2015 visit to the school, he stressed the importance of serving others.

President Donald Trump announced Saturday that he wants a battle-hardened commander who oversaw troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to be the nation's next top military adviser. He later commanded the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum in NY, the III Corps at Fort Hood in Texas, and U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg in North Carolina before taking the reins as chief of staff in August 2015.

Milley assumed command of Fort Hood on December 20, 2012, succeeding Lt. Gen. Don M. Campbell, Jr. who left to command U.S. Army Europe and the Seventh Army in Germany. Trump offered a "little hint" to reporters on the White House lawn Friday that he'd be making an announcement about this post, though he noted at the time he'd be filling everyone in at the Army-Navy game later Saturday afternoon.

It is unusual to make the announcement of the Defense Department's next top officer at a sporting event - even one as revered in military circles as the 128-year-old game between the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy - and reveal the decision some 10 months before the transition is scheduled to take place.

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He also served as deputy commanding general of US forces in Afghanistan.

"He has served with General Milley in peacetime and in combat and has the highest regard for his leadership", said Dunford's spokesman, Colonel Patrick Ryder. An infantry officer by training, he also commanded Special Forces units in a career that included deployments in the invasion of Panama in 1989; the multinational mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina to implement the Dayton Peace Accords; and the Iraq war. Trump re-nominated him in 2017 for a second term.

But in choosing the 60-year-old Milley, a graduate of Princeton University known for his combat command experience, Trump went against the wishes of Mattis, who reportedly favoured Air Force General David Goldfein.

Dunford was picked as chairman of the Joint Chiefs in 2015 by former President Barack Obama.


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