General Mark A. Milley is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking military position in the United States. He serves as the President, Secretary of Defense, and National Security Council’s primary military adviser.
Milley sparked controversy in June, when, in uniform, he joined President Donald Trump for a photo op in front of a Washington, D.C. church. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets on peaceful protestors, who had been demonstrating against George Floyd’s killing, to clear the path that Trump, Milley, and other senior advisers took.
The same day, Trump declared that Milley would be “in charge” of the federal response to nationwide Black Lives Matter protests.
Two weeks later, in a pre-recorded speech to the National Defense University, Milley apologized. “My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics,” he said.
Without his knowledge or consent, Milley’s image recently appeared in a Trump reelection ad. The military strictly forbids uniformed service members from participating in any political campaign.
During his Senate confirmation hearings in July 2019, Milley pledged to focus on modernizing U.S. military forces and securing strategic advantages over China. He began his military career by commissioning as a Second Lieutenant through Army ROTC. He graduated with an A.B. in politics.