Biden To Pick Female Admiral For Top Navy Officer, Going Against Defense Department Recommendation

(Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images)

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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President Joe Biden on Friday nominated Adm. Lisa Franchetti to become the Navy’s top officer, passing over a recommendation from the secretary of defense to select the Navy’s Pacific Fleet commander for the role.

Franchetti currently serves as the vice chief of naval operations and was considered by administration insiders as the top choice to become the Navy’s representative on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and would be the first ever female member, according to The Associated Press, citing U.S. officials speaking anonymously before the nomination was officially announced. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin recommended Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander of the Pacific Fleet, for the role in early June, passing over Franchetti, NBC News first reported.

“I’m very proud that Admiral Franchetti has been nominated to be the first woman Chief of Naval Operations and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where she will continue to inspire all of us,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in an emailed statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: ‘A Matter Of Political Will’: Biden And A GOP Senator Are Duking It Out Over Abortion, And Neither One Is Backing Down)

Biden will instead nominate Paparo to become the next leader of Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), the administration said Friday.

Biden selected Franchetti for her broad experience in commanding and administrative roles that demanded high levels of responsibility and decision-making acumen alongside knowledge of budgeting and navigating bureaucracy, the official told the AP. She previously headed the 6th Fleet and U.S. Naval Forces Korea.

The president also nodded to the fact that, if confirmed, Franchetti would become the first female chief of naval operations and member of the joint chiefs, the official added, according to the AP. The administration believes she will be an inspiration to current and future sailors.

Franchetti was already slated to serve as acting chief once Adm. Michael Gilday retires in August as Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama continues to block Senate confirmation of all general and flag officers, U.S. Naval Institute News first reported.

Austin may have nominated Paparo to remove him from the lineup to become INDOPACOM commander, USNI News reported, citing defense officials familiar with the secretary’s thinking. Traditionally the Pacific Fleet leader enjoyed a high likelihood of moving on to head INDOPACOM, but Austin wants an Army general to have the opportunity.

If confirmed, Vice Adm. James Kilby will take Franchetti’s current spot and Vice Adm. Stephen “Web” Koehler will be Pacific Fleet commander, the White House said.

“Together, these four highly decorated naval officers have extensive operational and command experience,” Austin said in the statement. “If confirmed, these nominees will ensure that our U.S. Navy and the joint force in the Indo-Pacific remain the finest military force that the world has ever known.”

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