Trump officially taps three-star admiral to lead Navy


President Trump has nominated Vice Adm. Michael Gilday to be the top admiral in the Navy, the Pentagon announced Thursday, after Trump’s first choice for the job abruptly retired.

If confirmed, Gilday would replace Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, who is also set to retire. Gilday would also receive a fourth star.

{mosads}Gilday is currently serving as director of the Joint Staff. He previously commanded U.S. 10th Fleet and Fleet Cyber Command.

“The entire Navy should be very excited by today’s announcement,” Richardson tweeted Thursday. “Admiral Mike Gilday is a true cutting edge warfighter, a surface warrior who, by virtue of his leadership at 10th Fleet, fully appreciates the challenges we face in the cyber warfare arena.”

Gilday’s work with the Joint Staff will also “will ensure that the Navy continues to look for every opportunity to collaborate with other services, allies, and partners around the world,” Richardson added.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Gilday’s selection.

Trump’s first choice to be chief of naval operations, Adm. Bill Moran, announced his retirement last week after it was revealed he maintained a professional relationship with someone who had been reprimanded.

Moran had already been confirmed by the Senate in a May vote.

Officials said Moran’s decision to maintain a relationship with the unnamed former officer called into question Moran’s judgment.

The relationship at issue was with Chris Servello, according to multiple reports. Servello was Richardon’s former spokesman until he was accused by fellow officers and a civilian of making unwanted sexual passes and slapping a woman on the buttocks while dressed as Santa Claus at an office Christmas party in 2016.

Servello was reassigned in mid-2017. A 2018 inspector general report on the Navy’s handling of the incident knocked Richardson for failing to swiftly take disciplinary action against Servello.

The chief of naval operations shakeup is one of several leadership vacuums at the Pentagon lawmakers have expressed concern about in recent months.

The Defense secretary job has been filled on an acting basis since January. The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday advanced Mark Esper’s nomination to be secretary, and senators are hoping to now quickly confirm him.

Meanwhile, Trump’s nominee to be vice chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff has been accused of sexual assault. An Air Force investigation cleared Gen. John Hyten of the allegation, but senators are still debating whether to proceed with the nomination.

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