U.S. President Donald Trump has confirmed he will nominate Army General Mark Milley to replace Marine General Joseph Dunford as his next top military advisor.
"I am thankful to both of these incredible men for their service to our Country! Date of transition to be determined," Trump wrote in a Saturday morning tweet.
I am pleased to announce my nomination of four-star General Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the United States Army – as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, replacing General Joe Dunford, who will be retiring....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2018
Milley is a combat-experienced military leader and the current Chief of Staff of the Army, a position he has held since 2015.
Milley, who commanded troops during multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, must be confirmed by the Senate to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Some military officials at the Pentagon had said Air Force General David Goldfein was also a top contender for the job but added that Milley has a good relationship with the president.
Department of Defense spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Mike Andrews said in a statement Saturday, "We are aware of the President's nomination and share his confidence for Gen. Mark Milley."
Trump hinted Friday he would make the announcement Saturday while attending the annual Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia. Instead, he announced it at the White House before departing for Philadelphia.
As the Army's top officer, Milley helped lead the effort to allow women to serve in front-line infantry and other combat positions. He has worked to reverse a decline in Army recruiting, which fell far short of its annual goal this year.
Milley is an infantry officer by training, and has also commanded Special Forces units.
His career includes deployments in the 1989 invasion of Panama, the multinational mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the Iraq war.
If confirmed, Milley will replace Dunford, a former commandant of the Marine Corps and commander of coalition troops in Afghanistan. Dunford is expected to serve the remainder of his term as Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, which ends October 1, 2019.