WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday backed General John Hyten to be the second-highest ranking U.S. military official, a day after he denied sexual assault allegations against him.
The vote was 20-7 in favor of Hyten’s becoming the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Hyten, the outgoing commander of the U.S. military's Strategic Command, must still be confirmed by the full Senate. A date for that vote has not been announced.
Hyten on Tuesday vehemently denied the sexual assault allegations against him at his confirmation hearing. His accuser, Army Colonel Kathryn Spletstoser, sat quietly in the room during the hearing, occasionally shaking her head in disagreement, and afterward told reporters that Hyten had lied to the senators under oath.
An official Air Force investigation did not substantiate the accusations against Hyten.
Hyten’s nomination has posed a challenge to the Senate, which for years has criticized the military for failing to do enough to combat sexual assault in its ranks.