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Gen. Mark A. Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army, poses for a command portrait in the Army portrait studio at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., August 12, 2015.  Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense.


On Saturday, Dec. 6, President Donald Trump announced through a tweet that he is nominating Army General Mark A. Milley ’80 as the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the highest-ranking uniformed officer position in the United States.


Milley is a four-star general who has served as Army Chief of Staff since August 2015. He will succeed Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, whose term as Chairman of the JCS will end in 2019 fall.

Milley has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

Born in Winchester, Mass., Milley graduated from the University in 1980 with an A.B. in Politics. Milley was a cadet in the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program at the University and was commissioned as an officer upon graduation. He then went on to receive a M.A. in International Relations from Columbia University and a M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College.

Milley gave the address and presented the Oath and the Commissioning Certificates to five members of the Class of 2018 who were commissioned as Second Lieutenants in June 2018.

Prior to becoming the 39th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, Milley has also served as the 21st Commander of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N. C.. Milley has held positions in eight divisions, including Special Forces, and he has also undergone operational deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Egypt, and other locations. Milley has been awarded with the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, and the Bronze Star Medal, among other honors.

Due to an informal rotation between the branches of U.S. military, some officials from within the Department of Defense expected the next JCS Chairman to be selected from the U.S. Air Force. President Trump’s decision to name Milley as the successor to Dunford is in breaking with the informal rotation.

The other top contender for the nomination was General David L. Goldfein, who is the current Air Force Chief of Staff and Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ top choice for the nomination. Trump’s selection is at odds with Mattis’s opinion — one of several recent occasions in which a division between the two has become visible.

Army ROTC cadet Michael Wang ’21 expressed his enthusiasm about Milley’s nomination.

“Most Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff come from service academies,” Wang said. “It’s exciting to see someone who is not only an ROTC graduate but also actually graduated from Princeton, and it adds to the prestige and the history of our program here.”

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