Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Wednesday announced the nominations of Gen. Mark MilleyMark MilleyTrump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Russian military buildup puts Washington on edge Overnight Defense & National Security — Russian military moves cause for concern MORE for Army chief of staff, and Adm. John Richardson as the next chief of naval operations.
Carter said the nominations also had the support of Army Secretary John McHugh and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, as well as the current Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Greenert.
Carter hailed Milley as "a warrior and a statesman."
"He not only has plenty of operational and joint experience in Afghanistan and Iraq and on the joint staff, but he also has the intellect and vision to lead change throughout the Army," he said.
Milley served as commanding general of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command from May 2013 to February 2014.
"Mark and I flew to Herat the day after an attack on the U.S. consulate there, and I saw Mark take command of the scene and stand with our people there. I was impressed by his candor and good judgment, and I knew right away that he had even more to offer to the United States Army," he said.
Carter also had high praise for Richardson, calling him a "clear choice."
"He's a bold thinker, a tremendous leader, and the go-to officer for many of the Navy's tough issues in recent years, from preparing for the Ohio-class replacement ballistic missile submarine to handling problems of integrity and ethics," he said.
"He is in high demand. I had to wrestle him away from the secretary of Energy. But as anyone who has worked with John will tell you, he's worth the fight," Carter said. "I told [Energy Secretary] Ernie Moniz that if I could clone John Richardson, I would.
"I know he'll do an excellent job of helping steer the United States Navy in the years to come."
Carter also thanked Odierno and Greenert for their "tremendous service" over the past four years.
"Both Ray and John have been tremendous leaders for their respective services over these last four years,” he said.
“Four years that have been critical for our military and for the country, marked by an ever-changing security environment and persistent budget turbulence, but also by magnificent performance by these two services under their leadership," he said.