Senate confirms next Marines commandant

Senate confirms next Marines commandant
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The Senate has confirmed the next chief of the Marine Corps.

In a voice vote late Wednesday, the Senate confirmed Gen. David Berger to be the next commandant of the Marines.

Berger, who has been serving as the Marines’ deputy commandant for combat development and integration, will replace Gen. Robert Neller, who is set to retire this summer.

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Berger had been expected to be confirmed last month when the Senate approved the next chiefs for the Army and Navy.

But, as first reported by USNI News, Sen. Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanOvernight Defense: Trump hits Iranian central bank with sanctions | Trump meeting with Ukrainian leader at UN | Trump touts relationship with North Korea's Kim as 'best thing' for US Exclusive: Kushner tells GOP it needs to unify behind immigration plan Republicans grumble over Trump shifting military funds to wall MORE (R-Alaska) placed a hold on the nomination over unspecified local issues.

Sullivan dropped his hold Wednesday, telling the Military Times his issue was resolved while declining to elaborate. During Berger’s confirmation hearing, Sullivan asked about Marines’ readiness to fight in cold weather terrain.

At his confirmation hearing, Berger also said he will look at whether to integrate Marines boot camp by gender next year after doing so once this year “went great.”

In the past, the Marines have argued separation by gender is necessary to allow women to become more physically competitive before joining the men, as well as to provide women the support they may need when they first start training since they are such a small percentage of the service.

But some lawmakers have faulted the segregation as a reason for persistent sexual assault and harassment allegations plaguing the Marines, arguing it teaches young Marines that women are lesser.