Biden Selects Adm. Lisa Franchetti as First Female Navy Chief
In a groundbreaking move, President Joe Biden has chosen Admiral Lisa Franchetti to lead the Navy, setting her up to become the first woman to hold the position of Pentagon service chief and the first female member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The decision comes as a departure from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s recommendation to nominate Adm. Samuel Paparo, current commander of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet. If confirmed, Adm. Franchetti’s extensive command and executive experience will make her an ideal fit for the role, as she currently serves as the vice chief of operations for the Navy.
An Unprecedented Selection
President Biden’s selection of Admiral Franchetti holds immense historical significance, given her long-standing expertise in both operational and policy areas throughout her distinguished career. With experience at sea and ashore, including various high-level policy and administrative positions, she possesses deep knowledge in budgeting and departmental management. The nomination recognizes not only her outstanding qualifications but also highlights the inspiration she will bring to sailors, both male and female, as they see the highest ranks opening up for women in the military.
Uphill Battle for Confirmation
Admiral Franchetti’s nomination, along with hundreds of other military moves, faces an obstacle in the form of Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama. The senator is holding up the confirmation of military officers in protest against a Defense Department policy that provides financial support for out-of-state travel for reproductive care, including abortion. President Biden has criticized Senator Tuberville for prioritizing his domestic political agenda over military readiness, expressing concern that such delays jeopardize the strength of the United States Armed Forces.
A Trailblazing Path
While several women have previously served as military service secretaries in political roles, none have reached the top uniformed officer position. The closest is Admiral Linda L. Fagan, who currently holds the position of commandant of the Coast Guard, though not a member of the Joint Staff. However, Adm. Franchetti’s nomination marks a significant step forward for gender representation in the military’s top leadership positions.
Adm. Franchetti’s Stellar Record
As a surface warfare officer, Admiral Franchetti boasts an impressive resume, having commanded at all levels, including heading U.S. 6th Fleet and U.S. Naval Forces Korea. Her accomplishments include being the second woman to be promoted to four-star admiral and leading deployments as commander of a naval destroyer and two stints as an aircraft carrier strike group commander.
Other Naval Leadership Nominations
In addition to Admiral Franchetti’s nomination, President Biden has selected Vice Adm. James Kilby to be the vice chief of the Navy and Vice Adm. Stephen Koehler to head the Pacific Fleet, reflecting his commitment to assembling a strong and diverse team to lead the nation’s naval forces.
The future is bright for Adm. Lisa Franchetti, and her confirmation as the Navy’s chief will mark a momentous milestone in the history of the United States military. As she takes the helm, her leadership will undoubtedly inspire countless individuals and shape the Navy’s course towards a more inclusive and forward-looking future.
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