Senate gives thumbs up to batch of military nominees

The Senate confirmed a new head of the Navy's Fleet Cyber Command and new chief of staff of the Air Force.

A new face will be in charge of the Navy’s cyber forces after the Senate confirmed a handful of military nominees before the Independence Day recess.

The Senate OK’d more than 60 nominees before the break.

Vice Adm. Michael Gilday is the newest commander of the Navy’s 10th Fleet and Fleet Cyber Command. Gilday is talking over for Vice Adm. Jan Tighe who was confirmed as deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare.

Vice Adm. Michael Gilday
Vice Adm. Michael Gilday

The Navy has not said when the change of command will happen. Once Tighe’s duties for the 10th Fleet are finished, she’ll replace Vice Adm. Ted “Twig” Branch, who has served since 2013 as the chief of information warfare, a position formerly called “chief of information dominance.” Branch is retiring after 40 years of service.

The Navy isn’t the only area seeing a change of guard. The Senate also confirmed Gen. David Goldfein as the Air Force Chief of Staff.

The Defense Department announced his appointment back in April.

“Dave will bring his extensive experience and unique qualifications to bear as the Air Force seeks to address the increasingly complex and very challenging geopolitical environment,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “He has played a major, major role in developing the Air Force’s budget, in developing the Air Force’s input and contribution to the third offset strategy and also has worked tirelessly to increase our capabilities in all three of our warfighting domains.”

Goldfein told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing that the Air Force is facing a serious manpower shortfall. He told members of the committee that he does not think the operational tempo — another word for how often troops are deployed — will change under his tenure because of the shortfall.

In 2015, enlisted airmen were deployed for an average of 132 days and officers were deployed for an average of 128 days.

That grueling tempo can take a toll on the morale and family life of airmen.

Along with the Air Force and Navy conformations the Senate gave the go ahead to Lt. Gen. Joseph Lengyel to serve as chief of the National Guard Bureau and to Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser as head of U.S. Africa Command.

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