President Biden nominates Admiral Lisa Franchetti to be Navy’s top officer
If confirmed, Franchetti would become the first woman to be a Pentagon service chief and the first female member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
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Admiral Lisa Franchetti has been picked by President Joe Biden to lead the Navy, and if confirmed, she’d become the first woman to be a Pentagon service chief and the first female member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The President’s hand-picked choice goes against the recommendation of his Pentagon chief, Lloyd J. Austin III. However, Franchetti, the current vice chief of operations for the Navy, was considered by insiders and many others to be the top choice for the position.
“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.”
Secretary Austin recommended that Biden select Adm. Samuel Paparo, the current commander of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet, several U.S. officials said last month. Biden is instead nominating Paparo to lead the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
Despite that, Austin praised the nomination in a statement Friday.
“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.”
Biden emphasized the historical importance of selecting Franchetti and said “throughout her career, Admiral Franchetti has demonstrated extensive expertise in both the operational and policy arenas.”
According to a senior administration official, Biden chose Franchetti because of her vast experience at sea and ashore, including several high-level policy and administrative jobs that give her great knowledge in budgeting and overall running the department.
Biden’s nomination now joins the list of hundreds of military confirmations that are being blocked by Republican Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville in protest of a Defense Department policy that funds travel when a service member has to go out of state to get an abortion or other reproductive care.
The President criticized Tuberville in his statement Friday for picking his own political agenda over military readiness.
“What Senator Tuberville is doing is not only wrong — it is dangerous,” Biden said. “He is risking our ability to ensure that the United States Armed Forces remain the greatest fighting force in the history of the world. And his Republican colleagues in the Senate know it.”
Starting next month, Franchetti will serve as the acting Navy chief when Adm. Michael Gilday, the current top naval officer, retires as planned.
While some women throughout history have served as military service secretaries as political appointees, but never before as their top uniformed officer. Adm. Linda L. Fagan is currently the commandant of the Coast Guard but is not a member of the Joint Staff. The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security, not the Pentagon.
Franchetti previously served as director for strategy, plans and policy on the Joint Staff and commanded the U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet, which is based in Naples, Italy, and covers Europe and Africa.
A Rochester, New York native, Franchetti received a bachelor of science in journalism from Northwestern University, where she also received her commission in 1985 through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Program.