A Marine could serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for only the second time in history if the Senate confirms President Obama's nominee Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. Dunford currently serves as the commandant of the Marine Corps. He is a trusted adviser of President Obama with ties to the drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., who has been described as "the damn epitome of a Marine leader," has received high praise from Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain. "I've known him very well for many years and he's an outstanding leader," said McCain, a Vietnam war veteran. "I'm very, extremely enthusiastic about his selection. He's a combat veteran. He's a warrior."
Dunford will replace Army General Martin Dempsey, who is expected to step down in September.
Dunford began his career as an infantry officer and has commanded at all levels. He moved from a one-star general to four stars in only three years.
Prior to being commandant of the Marine Corps and earning Obama's nominee for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. served as top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan for a year and a half, overseeing the drawdown of American troops.
In the Iraq war, he commanded the Marine regiment that led the 2003 invasion. And according to NBC News, it was during his 22 months in Iraq that he earned the nickname "Fighting Joe," as his Marines relied on limited resources to fight in poor weather.
During his announcement of the Marine as chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Obama urged the Senate to quickly confirm both Dunford and his new pick for vice-chairman, Air Force General Paul Selva. He said he would rely on their advice on the fight against Islamic State militants, "rebalancing" U.S. military posture in the Asia Pacific region, and investing in cyber defenses.
"I know Joe. I trust him. He's already proven his ability to give me his unvarnished military advice based on his experience on the ground," Obama said, describing the general as "tireless."
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