Home News Biden plans to tap first woman to military Joint Chiefs of Staff

Biden plans to tap first woman to military Joint Chiefs of Staff

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U.S. Navy Adm. Lisa Franchetti, vice chief of Naval Operations, speaks with Naval Supply Detachment staff during a tour of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Dec. 13, 2022. (Lance Cpl. Cody Purcell/U.S. Marine Corps/TNS)

Jordan Fabian and Roxana Tiron

Bloomberg News

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden plans to nominate Adm. Lisa Franchetti as chief of naval operations, a move that would make her the first woman to be a U.S. military service chief.

The role is subject to Senate confirmation. She is currently the Navy’s vice chief of operations and has served for 38 years. She is the second woman to reach the rank of four-star admiral.

“Throughout her career, Admiral Franchetti has demonstrated extensive expertise in both the operational and policy arenas,” Biden said in a statement, which included three other appointments.

Biden’s nomination sets up another standoff with Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville, who has blocked military promotions and confirmations over a Pentagon policy allowing military personnel seeking an abortion to take leave and receive travel allowances.

“These leadership positions are far too important to delay filling while one senator prioritizes his domestic political agenda over our military readiness,” Biden said in his statement. “What Senator Tuberville is doing is not only wrong — it is dangerous.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement he is “very proud” Franchetti was nominated as the Navy’s chief and added she would “continue to inspire all of us.”

Franchetti would replace Adm. Mike Gilday, whose four-year term expires this fall. Given the blockade in the Senate, Franchetti will likely lead her service on an acting basis until she’s able to be confirmed.

“Biden chose Franchetti based on the broad scope of her experience at sea and ashore, including a number of high-level policy and administrative jobs that give her deep knowledge in budgeting and running the department,” Adam Hodge, acting White House National Security Council spokesman, said on Twitter after the announcement was made.

Her nomination comes at a pivotal time for the U.S. military which is ramping up its efforts to stymie China’s influence in the Pacific region and safeguard Taiwan from a Chinese incursion. Franchetti spent her career mostly on warships, and commanded U.S. Naval Forces Korea. She also served as director for strategy, plans and policy on the Joint Staff and commanded the 6th Fleet, which is based in Naples, Italy, and has responsibility over Europe and Africa.

“At a time when all eyes are on the Navy to safeguard our nation and allies, Lisa has the experience to guide its ranks and ensure readiness in a contested security environment,” Rep. Joe Courtney, a Connecticut Democrat, tweeted Friday. Courtney is the top Democrat dealing with naval issues on the House Armed Services Committee.

Biden also intends to nominate Vice Adm. James Kilby to be vice chief of naval operations, Adm. Samuel Paparo as commander of the Indo-Pacific Command and Vice Adm. Stephen “Web” Koehler to command the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

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