President Obama has nominated Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva, a logistician, to serve as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, making Selva the first military official with significant logistics expertise to rise so high in the Joint Chiefs' hierarchy.
The president made the announcement last Tuesday of the nominations of Selva and of Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. as chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
Selva, a 35-year military veteran, is currently head of the U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, the organization that manages global air, land, and sea transportation for the Department of Defense. Prior to that assignment, Selva completed another logistics leadership job as commander of the Air Mobility Command at the same base.
Instead of driving forklifts or 18-wheelers, though, Selva has logged more than 3,100 hours of flight time as pilot of military aircraft such as the C-5, C-17A, C-141B, KC-10, KC-135A, and T-37. Altogether, that experience will be crucial in leading the military in its 21st century challenges, the outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, told reporters.
"General Selva is also a leader of competence and character," Dempsey told DoD News. "He has a tremendous understanding of the global security challenges we face and experience at every echelon of command, most recently leading our global transportation network."
Military logisticians use the term "global" as more than just a buzzword. U.S. armed forces complete tasks every day in every corner of the planet, from ongoing military operations in the Middle East to delivering disaster-recovery material to survivors of the recent earthquakes in Nepal.
Selva's worldwide logistics background will be crucial in addressing the fight against terrorism as well as many other challenges facing the military, according to government officials.
Selva has been committed to partnerships that are a core principle of the national security strategy "whether it's supplying our joint force around the world in operations large and small, to supporting and keeping safe our diplomats and embassy personnel overseas," Obama said.