Fleet Forces commander nominated as next Joint Chiefs vice chairman

American flags stand in the ground Sept. 1, 2020, outside of the 177th Fighter Wing, Egg Harbor Township, N.J.

The White House will tap the head of U.S. Fleet Forces command to serve as the next Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, filling a key leadership vacancy that had raised concerns in recent weeks.

Navy Adm. Christopher Grady, who has served in the Fleet Forces role for the last three years, would replace retiring Vice Chairman Air Force Gen. John Hyten. Hyten’s term is set to end just before Thanksgiving.

Grady likely cannot be confirmed to replace Hyten by then, given the background reviews and hearings needed to be scheduled before a Senate vote.

But the nomination, quietly inserted in the Senate calendar on Monday, potentially minimizes the time that one of the military’s top leadership spots will be vacant.

Lawmakers in recent weeks has lamented the lack of an official nominee from White House officials for the Vice Chairman post.

On Tuesday, Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called the delay a “dereliction of duty” by President Joe Biden in maintaining military readiness. He called the leadership gap unnecessary, since Grady’s pending nomination had been rumored for months.

Grady, 58, was viewed as the likely successor to Hyten. He has served as a naval officer for the last 37 years, including a number of leadership roles within the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He previously served as commander of the U.S. 6th Fleet and the deputy commander of both U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa. He is a graduate of both the University of Notre Dame and Georgetown University.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.