General Mark Milley will leave his position as Chief of Staff of the US Armed Forces on Friday, after a term that included several crises, both outside and inside the United States.
He will be succeeded by General Charles Q. Brown Jr., who currently commands the Air Force.
After Colin Powell in the 1990s, Brown will be the second African American to hold the highest military position in the United States.
Milley recently told Agence France-Presse that he has experienced one crisis after another since taking office in October 2019.
Along with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Milley, as Chief of Staff, oversaw US military assistance to Ukraine in the face of the Russian invasion.
Likewise, his term was marked by the US failure in Kabul, when in August 2021 the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan and its capital after a twenty-year war, and Milley himself considered it a strategic failure.
He was also in the spotlight at the end of Donald Trump’s term, when it was mentioned in a book that he repeatedly called his Chinese counterpart to reassure him about the US position, without informing the former president.
General Milley expressed his regret for being with Trump when the president ordered the dispersal of a Black Lives Matter demonstration in front of the White House before a photo was taken of him carrying a Bible in front of a church.
His successor, General Charles Q. Brown Jr., is an experienced former pilot, with three thousand flight hours under his belt, including 130 in combat.
He commanded a brigade before being appointed commander of the US Air Forces in the Middle East and the Pacific Ocean.
General Brown attracted attention in the summer of 2020, at the height of the “Black Lives Matter” anti-racism movement following the death of George Floyd, as he published a video in which he spoke about the discrimination he personally experienced, including within the US army.
The Senate’s approval of Brown’s appointment was delayed due to deliberate obstruction by a conservative senator, who has been exploiting his powers for months to assert his opposition to the Pentagon’s decision to help female soldiers obtain the right to abortion.
However this appointment was finally confirmed after a vote that overcame this filibuster.