Senate leaders want to get new military leaders in place as soon as possible, but civilian defense nominees remain sidelined for now.
Senate Armed Services Committee lawmakers announced they will hold a confirmation hearing for the incoming Joint Chiefs chairman, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., on July 9, just after they return from the July Fourth congressional recess.
Confirmation hearings for Air Force Gen. Paul Selva to become the new Joint Chiefs vice chairman and Air Force Gen. Darren McDew to become the new chief of U.S. Transportation Command will take place a week later, on July 14.
None of the hearings are expected to be contentious. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the committee chairman, and several other members have publicly praised Dunford and the other nominees, and likely will focus most of their concerns on the White House’s current foreign policy strategy instead of the men’s résumés.
McCain has also said he hopes to hold hearings for Gen. Mark Milley to be the next Army chief of staff and Adm. John Richardson to be the next chief of naval operations before Congress leaves town for its August recess, in an effort to ensure military leadership isn’t disrupted by congressional schedules.
But the same good will doesn’t extend to the candidates for top civilian DoD posts, whose nomination hearings are still in congressional limbo.