Trump chooses new Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, against Mattis wishes

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley listens to a question while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Army's fiscal 2018 budget

President Donald Trump is expected to name Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to two United States officials.

The announcement came early Saturday on Twitter, with Trump announcing the four-star general would be replacing Gen. Joseph Dunford, who's set to step down from his second term next summer.

The officials confirmed the decision Friday on condition of anonymity because it had not been announced.

As Fox News noted, Dunford's term is up in October of next year and sources told the network he "has no plans to end his term as chairman early".

After becoming Chief of Staff of the Army in 2015, Milley helped oversee the army's transition away from large-scale counterinsurgency campaigns in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, focusing instead on near-peer challenges from Russian Federation and China.

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Mr. Trump re-nominated him in 2017 for a second term. While serving as head of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Milley was assigned to review the case of former Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who abandoned his post in Afghanistan and was held captive by the Taliban for five years.

In addition to the scheduled change of the chairman, several other key slots on the Joint Chiefs of Staff are scheduled to open next year.

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 01: U.S. President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with U.S. Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley (L) during a Rose Garden event. Milley made the decision to charge Bergdahl in 2015 with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, for which Bergdahl ultimately received a dishonorable discharge but avoided prison time. Before that he had served as Commandant of the Marine Corps.

But in choosing the 60-year-old Milley, a graduate of Princeton University known for his combat command experience, Trump went against the wishes of Mattis, who reportedly favoured Air Force General David Goldfein.

Previous chairmen served two two-year terms if they were re-nominated.

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