Nuclear commander nominated to be No. 2 general in US

The general in charge of the U.S. nuclear arsenal has been nominated to be the country’s second-highest-ranking military officer, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson announced Tuesday.

Wilson said at a space symposium in Colorado that Air Force Gen. John Hyten was nominated Tuesday morning to be the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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If confirmed, Hyten would take over for Air Force Gen. Paul Selva when his term ends this summer.

Hyten has served as commander of U.S. Strategic Command (Stratcom), a role that puts him in charge of the U.S. nuclear forces, since 2016.

Prior to taking the helm at Stratcom, Hyten was the commander of Air Force Space Command. Throughout his career, he has been a strong proponent of space-based missile defense sensors.

His next appearance before Congress will be Thursday, when he is among the witnesses scheduled to defend President TrumpDonald John TrumpWatergate prosecutor says that Sondland testimony was 'tipping point' for Trump In private moment with Trump, Justice Kennedy pushed for Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination: book Obama: 'Everybody needs to chill out' about differences between 2020 candidates MORE’s Space Force proposal to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Hyten also recently expressed concern that Moscow is developing weapons outside the scope of the New START Treaty, which caps the number of deployed nuclear warheads allowed by Russia and United States. He added, however, that he is still a “big supporter” of the treaty.

Trump announced last year he would nominate Army Gen. Mark Milley to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Pentagon announced Milley was officially nominated in a press release Tuesday afternoon.

Milley, if confirmed, would take over for Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, whose term ends in September.

Updated at 5:06 p.m.