Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel nominated Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford to serve as the next commandant of the Marine Corps, the Defense Department announced Thursday morning.
Dunford has served as commander of the International Security Assistance Force-Afghanistan and commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan since February 2013. Before that, he served as assistant commandant from October 2010 to December 2012.
Commandant Gen. James Amos, who will retire this fall, said Thursday morning that he was “extremely pleased” to hear about the nomination.
“Joe is one of the most knowledgeable and talented leaders and thinkers in the military today,” he said. “He has commanded and excelled at every level. His tenure as commander of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan over the past 18 months has been extraordinary, and is testament to the full measure of the man. Our country and our Marine Corps will benefit greatly from his continued service.”
Dunford’s nomination is pending Senate approval. In his two most recent high-profile assignments, he has appeared before congressional committees many times and cultivated good relationships with lawmakers, who seem to think very highly of the four-star general.
“I’m pleased Gen. Dunford has been chosen to serve as the next Commandant of the Marine Corps,” Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said in a statement Thursday. “I met with General Dunford earlier this year and appreciated his honesty and candor. I am confident in his ability to lead our Marine Corps during this period of budgetary challenges and rising global threats.”
House Armed Services Committee member Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) said “Gen. Dunford will make an outstanding Commandant, and as a Marine and a former infantry officer, I couldn’t imagine a better choice to lead our Corps.”
And HASC member Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who still serves as a Marine Corps Reserve officer, said “Gen. Joe Dunford is one of the Marine Corps’ best and most effective leaders, and I am thrilled he’s been nominated for commandant. With the drawdown in Afghanistan, the next several years will be a transformative time for the Marine Corps, and Gen. Dunford is the right man to meet the challenges ahead. Gen. Dunford’s steady hand and experience will be guiding forces for the Marine Corps, and it’s reassuring to know that there will be a warfighter leading Marines.”
Senate Armed Services Committee spokeswoman Tara Andringa said the committee has not set a date yet for Dunford’s confirmation hearing but would act quickly to confirm a senior military official.