Senate confirms Joseph Dunford as next Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman
The US Senate confirmed Marine General Joseph Dunford as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the US military’s top officer, after President Barack Obama chose him for the post in May.
Dunford, 59, currently the commandant of the US Marine Corps, will replace General Martin Dempsey, who is set to retire after he finishes his second term as chairman in October. The Senate confirmed Dunford by unanimous consent.
Describing Dunford as “one of the most admired officers in our military,” Obama hailed the Boston native as a top-notch strategic thinker when he announced the nomination on May 5.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff acts as the top military advisor to the US president and the secretary of defense. The position does not involve direct operational authority, but the government takes its direction and issues orders to the field.
The job often carries hefty influence on matters of war and peace, and the chairman also is seen as the public face of the armed forces.
Dunford previously served as the commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan from February 2013 until August 2014.
During his time as commander in Kabul, Dunford oversaw a major drawdown of tens of thousands of US troops, as Afghan forces took the lead in the fight against the Taliban insurgency.
But Dunford persuaded the White House to keep a small force on the ground after 2014 instead of a total troop withdrawal.
Dunford also led troops in the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and spent nearly two years in the country.
In 2009, he was appointed head of Marine forces in the military’s Central Command, which oversees American troops across the Middle East.
An infantry officer, Dunford followed General James Amos, a pilot, as commandant of the Marine Corps. He holds a master’s degree in government from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.