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Trump chooses new Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, against Mattis wishes

AFP  |  Washington 

US on Saturday announced he was nominating of staff as his next top advisor -- a new slap in the face for

Milley, a four-star who has served in and Afghanistan, would replace as the military's next of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dunford is scheduled to retire in October 2019 at the end of his second two-year term.

"I am thankful to both of these incredible men for their service to our Country!" Trump said on in making the announcement.

"Mark is a great gentleman, great soldier. I look forward to that," Trump then told reporters before heading to the annual Army-Navy football game in

But in choosing the 60-year-old Milley, a graduate of known for his combat command experience, Trump went against the wishes of Mattis, who reportedly favoured General

That choice would have been in keeping with a tradition of rotating the post among the services. Dunford is a Marine Corps general.

There has not been an in the chairman's post since 2005. The Joint Chiefs of Staff is made up of the heads of the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and

Dunford quickly offered his congratulations to Milley. "He has served with General Milley in peacetime and in combat and has the highest regard for his leadership," said Dunford's spokesman,

Milley must be confirmed by the US Senate. He would take the position for a four-year term, after a new law was passed last year doubling the term length to better ensure continuity. Trump said the transition date was "to be determined," in a sign that Dunford might go sooner rather than later, but Ryder noted: "All indications are that General Dunford will serve his full term."

Trump announced his picks for a new and a new UN on Friday. On Saturday, he also announced that of staff John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, would leave by year's end.

After meeting with both Milley and Goldfein, it seems that Trump preferred the general, who was more outgoing than the cerebral chief, and laced his discussions with humour and historical references.

The Pentagon's reaction to the announcement was somewhat frosty. "We are aware of the president's nomination and share his confidence for General Mark Milley," spokesman, Lieutenant Mike Andrews, said in a brief statement.

"The remains fully focused on defending our nation." Mattis was once a favorite of Trump, but the two men have had increasing difficulties in recent months.

They haven't seen eye to eye over the nuclear deal, which Trump withdrew from over Mattis' objections; over the creation of a Space Force, which Mattis did not want; and over the crisis at the US-border, and the deployment of troops there.

Mattis and Dunford are expected to attend the Army-Navy game on Saturday along with Trump. The game features cadets from the against their counterparts from the US Academy and is often attended by the

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, December 09 2018. 04:39 IST