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Senate Considers Nominations to Four Key Defense Posts

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2007 – The Senate Armed Services Committee today is considering nominations of four senior officers named to take key Defense Department posts.

The committee began this morning what is expected to be an all-day hearing to consider the nominations of:

-- Navy Adm. Gary Roughead as chief of naval operations;

-- Army Gen. William E. “Kip” Ward as commander of U.S. Africa Command;

-- Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton as commander of U.S. Strategic Command; and

-- Marine Corps Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis for promotion to general and appointment as commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command and NATO’s supreme allied commander for transformation.

Roughead, who currently commands Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., previously served as commander of Pacific Fleet in Hawaii.

A 1973 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, he served as executive officer on two patrol gunboats early in his career. He later served as chief of the Navy’s Office of Legislative Affairs, where he worked closely with Congress. If confirmed, he will replace the current CNO, Adm. Michael G. Mullen, who will become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Oct. 1. Roughhead would become the third consecutive surface warfare officer to lead the Navy.

Ward, deputy commander of U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, was nominated in July to stand up the new AFRICOM as its first commander. If confirmed, he will help bring AFRICOM to initial operational capacity as a command subordinate to EUCOM by October. AFRICOM is slated to be established as a separate unified command by Sept. 30, 2008.

At EUCOM, Ward has been responsible for the day-to-day activities for U.S. forces operating across 92 countries in Europe, Africa, Russia, parts of Asia and the Middle East, the Mediterranean and most of the Atlantic Ocean. He previously served as deputy commander and chief of staff for U.S. Army, Europe and 7th Army; as commander of the Stabilization Force during Operation Joint Force in Sarajevo, Bosnia; as commander of the 25th Infantry Division and U.S. Army, Hawaii; and as assistant division commander for the 82nd Airborne Division. Ward also commanded 10th Mountain Division’s 2nd Brigade and Operation Restore Hope in Mogadishu, Somalia, and 6th Infantry Division’s 5th Battalion, 9th Infantry, 2nd Brigade, and the division’s logistics staff.

Chilton was nominated in July for appointment to the grade of general and assignment as commander of STRATCOM. If confirmed, he will replace Lt. Gen. C. Robert Kehler, who has served as temporary STRATCOM commander since August, when the former commander, Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright, became the eighth vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A former astronaut who flew three space shuttle missions, Chilton currently serves as commander of Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. In that capacity, he is responsible for the development, acquisition and operation of the Air Force's space and missile systems.

A 1976 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, Chilton conducted weapons testing in various models of the F-4 and F-15 aircraft before joining the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1987. He also served on the Air Force Space Command Staff, the Joint Staff and the Air Staff, and commanded the 9th Reconnaissance Wing. Immediately before taking on his current assignment, he commanded 8th Air Force and served as STRATCOM’s joint functional component commander for space and global strike.

Mattis was nominated earlier this month to receive his fourth star and lead JFCOM. Currently “dual-hatted” as commander of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command, he will replace the retiring Air Force Gen. Lance L. Smith at JFCOM if confirmed by the Senate. Earlier this summer, Smith announced his plans to retire in January with 38 years of service. NATO's Defense Planning Committee also announced its plans to appoint Mattis as the next supreme allied commander for transformation.

Before taking the helm of 1st MEF, Mattis commanded Marine Corps Combat Development Command and served as deputy commandant for combat development. He also commanded 1st Marine Division during the initial attack and subsequent stability operations in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Before that, he served as commander of 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Task Force 58 in southern Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. Mattis also commanded 7th Marines (Reinforced) and, during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, led 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, one of Task Force Ripper's assault battalions.

Contact Author

Adm. Gary Roughead, USN
Gen. William E. “Kip” Ward, USA
Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, USAF
Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, USMC

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