Hyten Nominated to be Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs

Hyten Nominated to be Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs

Gen. John Hyten (USAF) was nominated today to be the next Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  He will succeed Gen. Paul Selva (USAF), who is retiring.  Hyten currently is Commander of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), but has spent most of his career in the military space sphere.  Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan called him “one of our brightest minds” and a “great pick” for the job.

Gen. John Hyten testifying to the Senate Armed Services Committee, February 26, 2019.

Hyten received a degree in engineering and applied sciences in 1981 from Harvard, which he attended on an Air Force Reserve Officer’s Training Corps scholarship.  He later received an MBA from Auburn University.

His résumé includes a long list of assignments in Air Force space positions throughout his military career including Director of Space Forces for operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, commander of the 595th Space Group and the 50th Space Wing at Schreiver Air Force Base, and Vice Commander and then Commander of Air Force Space Command.  He assumed command of USSTRATCOM in November 2016.

USSTRATCOM is in charge of U.S. nuclear command and control, space operations, global strike, and global missile defense.  The Trump Administration is reestablishing a separate U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) and Hyten is fully behind the idea.  At a February 26 Senate hearing, he explained that despite his intense interest in space, at USSTRATCOM, it is only his third priority.

“I care desperately about space, but as a commander of Strategic Command, space will never be my number one priority. In fact right now it’s about number three” behind nuclear modernization and operations and nuclear command and control.  Considering the importance of space, it is “not good to have that priority.”  What is needed is a separate command and a commander who can “focus on space 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and that’s why we’re standing up a Space Command.”

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson announced Hyten’s nomination this morning at the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, CO, although Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) had hinted at it during an April 3 HASC hearing on national security space priorities.

DOD issued a press release this afternoon with Shanahan’s formal statement announcing five General Officer nominations, including Hyten as well as Gen. Mark Milley (USA) to be the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (President Trump chose him for the position in December).  Shanahan congratulated Hyten in a tweet.


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