President Joe Biden has selected Admiral Lisa Franchetti to be the Navy’s top officer. If confirmed, she would be the first woman in the Navy’s history to hold the job, and the first woman in the joint chiefs of staff.
Franchetti, who is currently serving as the vice chief of naval operations, commissioned in 1985 and has served as the commander of US Naval Forces Korea, deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Development, and director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy of the Joint Staff, according to her official biography. She has also commanded two carrier strike groups, and became the 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 Friday that he was nominating Vice Adm. James Kilby, the deputy commander of US Fleet Forces Command, to be the next Vice CNO, and nominating Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander of US Pacific Fleet, to lead US forces in the Pacific as the commander of Indo-Pacific Command. Biden also nominated Vice Adm. Stephen “Web” Koehler to take over from Paparo as commander of US Pacific Fleet.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin applauded the nominations on Friday, saying each of the admirals 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, 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 likely join a growing contingent of senior general and flag officers, however, who are not confirmed for their next position quickly, as Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville has continued his hold of senior military nominations.
Tuberville has vowed to maintain his hold in protest of Pentagon reproductive health policies that were announced earlier this year, which among other things include a travel allowance for service members and dependents who must travel out of state to receive an abortion because of their state’s laws.
Among the other senior officers being held up include the nominee for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Gen. C.Q. Brown; nominee for Army chief of staff, Gen. Randy George; and nominee for commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Eric Smith. The Marine Corps is without a confirmed Commandant for the first time in more than 100 years as Smith has not yet been confirmed to take over for his predecessor, Gen. David Berger, who left command earlier this month.
Franchetti marks another first for the Biden administration’s Defense Department, which has now had the first Black secretary of defense, the first female Army secretary, Christine Wormuth, and upon Brown’s confirmation would mark the first time the Pentagon’s two most senior leaders are Black men.
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.”