Senate confirms new Joint Chiefs chairman
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Senators on Wednesday confirmed Gen. Joseph Dunford to be the new chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. 

The Senate's approval of Dunford, the head of the Marine Corps, tees him up to replace Gen. Martin Dempsey, the country's top military officer, later this year. 
 
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The confirmation — which Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.) included at the end of the Senate's Wednesday session by unanimous consent — caps off a relatively smooth confirmation process for the military officer. 
 
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) predicted earlier this month that Dunford would get the backing of every senator during a roll call vote. 
 
“I think he’s going to do a fine job. I think he’s going to have a unanimous confirmation in the Senate,” Ernst, a member of the Armed Services panel, told Radio Iowa at the time. “I admire him greatly and respect his service.”
 
President Obama nominated Dunford in May, praising him as "one of the most admired officers in our military.”
 
“I know Joe. I trust him,” the president added. “He’s already proven his ability to give me his unvarnished military advice based on his experience on the ground.”
 

Before serving as the commandant of the Marine Corps, Dunford was the top commander in Afghanistan in 2013 and 2014.

His ascension to the top military post comes as the Pentagon manages the battle against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), while also continuing the administration's pivot to the Asia-Pacific region. 

He'll also have to tackle the impact of congressionally-mandated budget caps on the military, and what has been an at times rocky relationship between the White House and the Pentagon.