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Fmr. Ft. Hood Gen. Mark Milley recommended as new Army chief

By LOLITA C. BALDOR
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday he is recommending Adm. John Richardson, head of the Navy's nuclear program, to be the next chief of naval operations. And he is nominating Gen. Mark Milley to be the next Army chief of staff.

Both men have faced public scrutiny over the past year for their key roles in high profiles cases.

Milley, the current head of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., was assigned to review the case of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who abandoned his post in Afghanistan and was held captive by the Taliban for five years. He made the decision to charge Bergdahl with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

Richardson has served as director of the Navy's nuclear reactors program since November 2012, and last year he ordered a broad investigation into allegations that a cheating ring had operated undetected for at least seven years at a nuclear power training site. Nearly three dozen sailors were kicked out of the program after the Navy discovered they were cheating on qualification exams. They were seeking to become qualified as instructors at the nuclear training unit in Charleston, South Carolina.

Students there are trained in nuclear reactor operations to prepare for service on any of the Navy's 83 nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers.

Both men face Senate confirmation.

Carter called Milley, who served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, a "warrior and a statesman" and said he has long been impressed by the general's candor and good judgment.

Richardson, Carter added, is a "bold thinker" and a go-to officer for many of the Navy's tough issues. He joked that he had to wrestle Richardson away from the secretary of energy. Richardson's role as director of the Navy program also serves as the deputy administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is part of the Energy Department.

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