Some top generals may be able to serve in their posts beyond their planned retirements or duty assignments to maintain service stability as the U.S. military continues to respond to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
As part of a proposed sweeping relief package to respond to the pandemic, lawmakers have given President Donald Trump the authority to keep top brass in their roles longer, according to the bill's language. That would include Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, head of the National Guard Bureau, and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, both of whom were slated to retire in coming months.
According to "The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act," Trump may extend the appointment "for the incumbent in such position as of the date of the enactment of this act until the date of the appointment of the successor to such incumbent," the bill states. The president could also delegate this authority to Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
The law also applies to Gen. John Jay Raymond, newly appointed chief of space operations for the U.S. Space Force; Lt. Gen. Scott Rice, director of the Air National Guard; Lt. Gen. Charles Luckey, chief of the Army Reserve; Lt. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, director of the Army National Guard; and Vice Adm. Luke McCollum, chief of the Navy Reserve.
But in some cases, successors have already been named by the White House. Earlier this month, the Pentagon announced that Gen. Charles "CQ" Brown had been chosen to lead the U.S. Air Force, pending confirmation.
The promotion would make Brown, currently head of Pacific Air Forces, the 22nd Air Force chief of staff as well as the first African American officer to serve as the top uniformed officer for any of the military branches.