As Defense Secretary James Mattis has laughed off reports of his departure after midterms, turnover looms among the top generals in the U.S. military, CNN reported Sunday.
With several leaders nearing retirement, the evolving makeup of U.S. military leadership will "shape military operations and policy for some years to come," according to the report.
For as long as he serves as Secretary, Mattis will help determine which nominations make it to the Senate confirmation process.
Among the expected positions to fill:
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Four-star Air Force Gen. Paul Selva is scheduled to retire early next year, and the position which oversees nuclear weapon procedures and oversight of billions in new weapons budget might be handed off to four-star Army Gen. Vincent Brooks, defense officials told CNN.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Gen. Joseph Dunford completes his second two-year term next fall. So, if Brooks assumes the vice chairman role earlier in the year, another branch will have to fill the top military adviser to the president role. Gen. Mark Milley, Army Chief of Staff, will not be a candidate if Brooks is elevated.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein is a potential candidate and might be path to advancing the Space Force initiative within the Trump administration, according to the report.
Also, Strategic Command leader, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, might be considered, per CNN.
Gen. Joseph Votel's retirement from leading operations in the Middle East is going to be taken over by Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, CNN reported.
Special Operations Command
Gen. Raymond Thomas is going to be replaced by Army Lt. Gen. Richard Clarke, per CNN.
European Command and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe
Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti's retirement might open the door for Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters, according to the report.
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