Defense

White House nominates US Fleet Forces head to be Joint Chiefs vice chair

President Biden has nominated the head of U.S. Fleet Forces Command to serve as the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s No. 2 officer, the Pentagon announced Tuesday.

The White House nominated Navy Adm. Christopher Grady to serve as the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs less than a month before the current vice chair, Gen. John Hyten, is set to retire on Nov. 20, according to a Defense Department statement.

The nomination, which was submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Monday and posted to Congress.gov on Tuesday, was first reported by USNI News.

Because of Grady’s late nomination date, there will likely be a gap between Hyten’s retirement and Grady’s potential confirmation, a concern that lawmakers have voiced.

“The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has to retire, by statute, in less than three weeks. That’s a really important position. . . . Almost certainly, we’re going to have an absent vice chairman,” Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) said Tuesday during a press appearance on the annual defense authorization bill.

Sullivan and other Republican senators appeared unaware that Grady had been nominated for the Joint Chiefs role.

“If we got it last night, that’s news to me, I’ve been tracking this very closely,” Sullivan said. “But if we got it, it’s still very unlikely, in terms of meetings, in terms of hearings, in terms of floor time — this will be a vote that we want to take on the floor — that we’re going to get this done in the proper amount of time without having a gap.”

Hyten last week also expressed concern the nomination delay would hurt U.S. progress on electronic warfare and spectrum operations development, which the vice chair would oversee.

“We used to be the best in the world at electronic warfare. Now we don’t train it. We don’t educate it. We don’t equip it. . . . So I’m worried that I’ve been pushing spectrum and if the vice chairman is not there – as a senior designated official for spectrum – that that momentum could be lost,” Hyten told reporters Thursday, USNI News reported.

Grady, who is currently in charge of ensuring that the Navy’s fleet is manned, trained and equipped before being deployed, had been interviewing at the White House since spring for the vice chair nomination, according to USNI News.

If confirmed, Grady would be in the job for four years, as opposed to Hyten, who took the job in late 2019 for only a two-year term.

Grady, who has been head of Norfolk, Va.,-based Fleet Forces since February 2019, beat out other contenders for the Joint Chiefs job including U.S. Strategic Command head Adm. Charles Richard.

He is set to be replaced by Vice Adm. Daryl Caudle, who most recently served as commander of Naval Submarine Forces and Submarine Force Atlantic.

Tags Christopher Grady Dan Sullivan Defense Department Joe Biden Pentagon

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File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

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