Admiral Lisa Franchetti has been named as the Navy’s senior officer by President Joe Biden. If confirmed, she would be the first woman to hold the position in the Navy’s history, as well as the first woman to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
According to her official biography, Franchetti commissioned in 1985 and has served as the commander of US Naval Forces Korea, the deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Development, and the director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy of the Joint Staff. She has also led two carrier strike groups and will take over as Vice CNO in September 2022.
“As our next Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Lisa Franchetti will bring 38 years of dedicated service to our nation as a commissioned officer, including in her current role of Vice Chief of Naval Operations,” Biden said in an announcement on Friday. “Throughout her career, Admiral Franchetti has demonstrated extensive expertise in both the operational and policy arenas. She is the second woman ever to achieve the rank of four-star admiral in the United States Navy, and when confirmed, she will again make history as the first woman to serve as the Chief of Naval Operations and on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”
Biden also announced on Friday that he was nominating Vice Adm. James Kilby, deputy commander of US Fleet Forces Command, to be the next Vice CNO, and Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander of US Pacific Fleet, to lead US forces in the Pacific as commander of Indo-Pacific Command. Biden also nominated Vice Adm. Stephen “Web” Koehler to succeed Paparo as head of the United States Pacific Fleet.
On Friday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin praised the nominations, saying that each of the admirals will “ensure that our U.S. Navy and the joint force in the Indo-Pacific remain the finest military forces that the world has ever known, and will be at the very heart of our work to project power around the world, defend freedom of the seas, and uphold the rules-based international order.”
Franchetti will almost certainly join a rising number of senior generals and flag officers who will not be confirmed for their next position anytime soon, as Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville has maintained his hold on senior military nominees.
Tuberville has vowed to keep his hold in protest of Pentagon reproductive health policies announced earlier this year, which include, among other things, a travel allowance for service members and dependents who are required to travel out of state to receive an abortion due to state laws.
Among the other top officers being scrutinized are Air Force Gen. C.Q. Brown, nominee for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Gen. Randy George, nominee for Army Chief of Staff; and Gen. Eric Smith, nominee for Commandant of the Marine Corps. For the first time in more than a century, the Marine Corps is without a confirmed Commandant since Smith has yet to be confirmed to replace his predecessor, Gen. David Berger, who departed command earlier this month.
Franchetti is another first for the Biden administration’s Defense Department, which has already had the first Black secretary of defense, the first female Army secretary, Christine Wormuth, and would be the first time the Pentagon’s two most senior officers are Black men if Brown is confirmed.
Biden pointed to Tuberville’s hold on Friday, saying that it is “not only wrong — it is dangerous.”
“The American people support our military and their families,” he said. “I urge the Senate to approve all the outstanding military nominees as quickly as possible.”