President Donald Trump is expected to name Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to two US officials.
If chosen, Milley would succeed the current chairman, Gen. Joseph Dunford, whose term expires later next year. Dunford is expected to serve out his term. The chairman is the highest-ranking military officer in the country and serves as the principal military adviser to the president.
Trump hinted the announcement would be coming earlier Friday when he said he would be making an announcement at the Army-Navy football game he will be attending Saturday in Philadelphia.
“I can give you a little hint: It will have to do with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and succession,” Trump told reporters at the White House before his departure for Kansas City.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein was also considered to be a candidate for the job, defense officials said
Milley interviewed with Trump for the position on November 14 for more than an hour, according to another source.
Milley who holds degrees from Princeton University and Columbia University, is known to be liked by Trump. He has commanded units with the 10th Mountain Division and the 101st Airborne and served multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Two defense officials tell CNN that Milley and Trump will be together on the Army side of the field during tomorrow’s game and then Trump is expected to visit the Navy side during the second half of the game.
After becoming Chief of Staff of the Army in 2015, Milley helped oversee the army’s transition away from large-scale counterinsurgency campaigns in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, focusing instead on near-peer challenges from Russia and China.
He helped launch the Army’s Security Force Assistance Brigades to help reduce the strain on Special Forces units while also ensuring that the army maintained the ability to advise friendly forces combating extremist groups.
Milley was also involved in the launch of Army Futures Command which is tasked with helping modernize the service.
Milley will be the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to serve a single 4-year term. Previous chairmen served two two-year terms if they were re-nominated. This new policy was made law in the 2017 defense authorization act.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed to this report