Lisa Franchetti has become the first woman to assume the position of Chief of Naval Operations in the U.S. Navy and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff after approval by the Senate.
The Senate approved the appointment of Admiral Franchetti, who has been leading the Navy temporarily since mid-August, to hold the position of Chief of Naval Operations number 33 with a majority of 95 votes, ending a months-long delay due to the obstruction of a Republican senator against military appointments due to his opposition to the Pentagon’s policy regarding abortion, according to the American magazine Defense News.
With this decision, she became a member of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, which is a precedent, as no woman has ever held membership in the highest military body in the United States.
During her service in the Navy, Franchetti commanded guided missile destroyers, fleets of destroyers, and two carrier strike groups.
She also held the position of Deputy Commander of U.S. Navy forces in Europe and later in Africa, in addition to the position of Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Development. In September 2022, she assumed the position of Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, which is considered the second-highest position in the Navy.
The Senate also voted separately to appoint General David Alvin as the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, as he received 95 votes, with one member opposing. This came after more than three months since he was selected by President Biden for the position in July of last year.
In a third separate voting session, the Senate approved the appointment of General Christopher Mahoney as the Deputy Commander of the Marine Corps, at a time when there is a leadership vacuum after its commander, Eric Smith, was transferred to the hospital on Sunday to receive treatment for a “heart attack,” according to media reports.
Eighty-six Senate members voted in favor of Mahoney’s appointment as Deputy Commander of the Marine Corps, while 13 members abstained from voting.
Congress usually approves military appointments quickly and unanimously. However, Senator Tom Toberfield obstructed this process for several months due to his rejection of Pentagon policies that allow women in the service to obtain travel expenses and leave for abortion procedures.
Earlier this year, the Pentagon issued leave and bonus provisions in response to a Supreme Court decision in 2022 that canceled the right to abortion nationwide.
On Monday, the Pentagon announced that 378 candidates for promotions and military appointments had their files shelved, but this impasse can be overcome if a resolution proposed by Democratic Senator Jack Reed is approved the day after the court’s decision.
Reed’s resolution allows for the collective consideration of military nominations during the 118th regular session of Congress, which will continue until the end of next year, except for officers nominated for leadership positions on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.