The Senate confirmed several Navy flag officers for new positions, including new leaders for U.S. naval forces in Europe and the Middle East and a new commander of the service’s shipbuilding and maintenance arm, USNI News has learned.
The Senate action that confirmed almost 30 flag positions came with no public notification by the Navy, a service official confirmed to USNI News.
According to a readout of a summary memo reviewed by USNI News, the Senate voted to approve the flag nominees on March 20.
Confirmations from the vote included:
Current Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Robert Burke will lead U.S. Naval Forces Europe. He would replace current NAVEUR commander Adm. James Foggo, who is expected to retire.
Program Executive Officer for Ships Rear Adm. Bill Galinis will be promoted to vice admiral and take command of Naval Sea Systems Command. He would replace Vice Adm. Tom Moore, who is expected to retire.
Commander of U.S. Surface Forces Atlantic Rear Adm. Roy Kitchener will be promoted to vice admiral and take command of Naval Surface Forces (SURFOR) and Surface Forces Pacific (SURFPAC). He would replace Vice Adm. Richard Brown, who is expected to retire. Rear Adm. Brad Cooper is expected to become the new SURFLANT commander on the East Coast.
U.S. Central Command director of operations Rear Adm. Samuel Paparo will be promoted to vice admiral and replace Vice Adm. James Malloy as commander of U.S. 5th Fleet, the Navy’s force in the Middle East.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Budget Rear Adm. Randy Crites will be promoted to vice admiral and take over as the deputy chief of naval operations integration of capabilities and resources (OPNAV N8). It’s unclear what’s next for current N8 Vice Adm. William Lescher.
Director of Future Plans on the chief of naval operations’ staff Rear Adm. Jeffrey Trussler will be promoted to vice admiral and become the Director of Naval Intelligence. The current director, Vice Adm. Matthew Kohler, is expected to retire.
Director of Operations for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Rear Adm. Stephen Koehler will be promoted to vice admiral and will take command of U.S. 2nd Fleet. Current 2nd Fleet commander Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis is under consideration to lead U.S. Fleet Forces Command, USNI News understands, though no nomination has been put forward.
Given the ongoing stop-movement orders from the Department of Defense and the Navy, it’s unclear how the service will handle the handover of commands.
Additionally, the Senate approved several other one- and two-star nominees, however, USNI News could not confirm the positions as of this posting.
The silence surrounding leadership changes is an extension of a former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson’s policy enacted in 2019 in which the Navy would not announce flag nominations in order to save them the threat of cyber-attacks.
“I think that information will get out eventually… I suppose I’d say there’s always a tension between transparency and security,” Richardson said.
“Our force knows where our flags are going.”
Three spokespeople in commands affected were unaware of the March 20 confirmations when reached by USNI News on Monday.
For their part, the Army and Air Force announce the positions of their general officers after their confirmation. Marines announce general officers when they are nominated.
The following flag officer nominations were also approved by the Senate on March 20.
To Vice Admiral
Vice Adm. Ross A. Myers
To Rear Admiral Upper Half
Rear Adm. (lh) Anne M. Swap
Rear Adm. (lh) Michael W. Studeman
Rear Adm. (lh) Stuart Baker
Rear Adm. (lh) Michael Bernacchi, Jr.
Rear Adm. (lh) Frank Bradley
Rear Adm. (lh) Daniel Cheever
Rear Adm. (lh) Yvette Davids
Rear Adm. (lh) Daniel Dwyer
Rear Adm. (lh) Peter Garvin
Rear Adm. (lh) Alvin Holsey
Rear Adm. (lh) William Houston
Rear Adm. (lh) Frederick Kacher
Rear Adm. (lh) Douglas Perry
Rear Adm. (lh) Fred Pyle
Rear Adm. (lh) Charles Rock
To Rear Admiral Lower Half
Capt. Dion English
Capt. Matthew Ott, III
Capt. Thomas Henderschedt
Capt. Kevin Byrne
Capt. Jason Lloyd
Capt. Howard Markle
Capt. Elizabeth Okana
Capt. Kurt Rothenhaus