He's been at the helm of the military as it’s prepared to deal with cuts of $487 billion over the next decade as part of the Budget Control Act, and another potential $500 billion reduction under sequestration.
Dempsey’s confirmation will likely be an opportunity for senators critical of U.S. inaction in Syria to press Dempsey on his views of the conflict. He has been cautious about U.S. military intervention and raised questions about the usefulness of a no-fly zone, something lawmakers in both parties have advocated.
Dempsey can also expect to face questions about sexual assault in the military and his opposition to proposals that would remove the decision to prosecute cases from the chain of command.
Still, there are few signs that Dempsey’s confirmation faces any roadblocks — he was confirmed by voice vote in the Senate in 2011.
It’s not uncommon for Joint Chiefs chairmen to stay in their position for more than a single two-year term. Dempsey’s predecessor Adm. Mike Mullen also served for four years under both Presidents George W. Bush and Obama.