Despite a stall forced by Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, the Senate confirmed Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford Wednesday for the position of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Gillibrand, a long-time critic of sexual assault policy in the military, held up the process for two days. The problem? Officials weren’t providing her with data on sexual assaults, but as soon as Defense Secretary Ash Carter stepped in and assured her that the information would soon be obtainable, she relented.
Just a few hours later, Dunford, the 59-year-old commandant for the Marine Corps, was confirmed by a voice vote, after being nominated by President Barack Obama in early July. (RELATED: Obama Set To Tap Marine General For Highest-Ranking Military Post)
Dunford has had a rapid ascent to the top, moving from a one-star to a four-star general in only three years. He holds a master’s degree in government from Georgetown University and a master’s in international relations from Tufts University.
In 2003, he commanded the 5th Marine Regiment in Iraq and served as head of the Afghanistan war coalition from 2013-2014. During his short time in Afghanistan, he oversaw the drawdown of U.S. forces in the midst of unstable elections and a rocky transition, which passed over more authority to the Afghanistan military.
Dunford is set to take over from the current chairman, Gen. Martin Dempsey, upon his retirement from a 41-year career Oct. 1.