Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speak to the media after attending a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Brussels, Belgium.
United States General Mark Milley
General Mark Milley is a senior military officer who has served in various leadership positions within the United States Army. Here’s an overview of his background and career:
- Early Life and Education: Mark Alexander Milley was born on June 18, 1958, in Winchester, Massachusetts, United States. He attended Belmont Hill School and later graduated from Princeton University in 1980 with a degree in Politics. Milley also holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Columbia University.
- Military Career: General Milley joined the U.S. Army in 1980 as an artillery officer. Over the course of his career, he has held a wide range of command and staff positions at various levels. Notable positions include serving as the Deputy Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) during Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Commander of the 10th Mountain Division.
Milley has also held key roles in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, serving as the Director of the Joint Staff and later as the Chief of Staff of the Army. In August 2019, he was confirmed as the 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking military officer in the United States Armed Forces.
- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: As the Chairman, General Milley is the principal military advisor to the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council. He plays a crucial role in providing strategic military advice, overseeing military operations, and ensuring effective communication and coordination among the different branches of the armed forces.
Under General Milley’s leadership, the U.S. military has faced various challenges and undertaken significant operations, including counterterrorism efforts, military modernization initiatives, and maintaining readiness in the face of emerging threats.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin
General Lloyd Austin, born on August 8, 1953, is a retired United States Army officer who served in various command and leadership roles throughout his military career. Here is an overview of his background and his role as Secretary of Defense:
- Military Career: General Austin graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1975 and served in the U.S. Army for over 40 years. He held a variety of command positions, including commanding the 3rd Infantry Division and the XVIII Airborne Corps. He also served as the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army and as the Commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) from 2013 to 2016.
- Secretary of Defense: On January 22, 2021, Lloyd Austin was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Secretary of Defense, becoming the first African American to hold this position in U.S. history. As the Secretary of Defense, he became the civilian head of the Department of Defense and a key advisor to the President on defense matters.
Austin assumed the role at a time when the United States faced a range of complex challenges, including addressing the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the military, managing global security threats, and ensuring the readiness and modernization of the U.S. armed forces.
- Priorities and Focus: During his confirmation hearings, General Austin outlined several priorities for his tenure as Secretary of Defense. These included maintaining a strong alliance network, addressing the threat posed by climate change, advancing military diversity and inclusion, and ensuring the department’s budgetary and resource allocations align with national security priorities.
- Waiver Requirement: To become Secretary of Defense, General Austin required a waiver from the U.S. Congress due to his relatively recent retirement from the military. Normally, a defense secretary must be retired from active-duty military service for at least seven years. However, Congress granted a waiver for General Austin, and he was confirmed by the Senate to assume the position.