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Mattis appoints his senior military adviser and chief of staff at the Pentagon

Secretary of Defense James Mattis greets U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after arriving at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Jan. 21, 2017.

BRIGITTE N. BRANTLEY/DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

By TARA COPP | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 23, 2017

WASHINGTON — Rear Adm. Craig Faller and retired Rear Adm. Kevin Sweeney were appointed senior military adviser and chief of staff at the Pentagon, respectively, by Defense Secretary James Mattis on Monday.

“Mattis hit the ground running,” said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.

Mattis had actually begun his tenure Saturday, after the Senate had confirmed his nomination as defense secretary Friday afternoon. He spent four hours at the Pentagon on Saturday and met with Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as tended to some administrative details, such as completing ethics and security forms, getting an initial intelligence briefing and meeting his staff, Davis told reporters. He also submitted an urine sample for a drug test, as all Defense Department employees must do, Davis said.

In his first words to the Defense Department, Mattis told civilian and uniformed personnel that “together with the Intelligence Community, we are the sentinels and guardians of our nation. We need only look to you, the uniformed and civilian members of the department and your families, to see the fundamental unity of our country. “

Mattis’ senior military adviser, Faller, served as the commanding officer of the destroyer USS Stethem and the cruiser USS Shiloh, and as commander of Carrier Strike Group 3. He has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and served as assistant to the U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Central Command commanders, and later as director of operations for Central Command.

Sweeney’s at sea assignments include time as the commander of Destroyer Squadron 13 and executive officer in the USS Arleigh Burke and as commander of the USS Cole as the ship was restored and returned to the fleet. Sweeney was assigned three times to Washington jobs, including on the staffs of the chief of naval operations, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as the executive assistant to the undersecretary of the Navy. He also served at U.S. Joint Forces Command and U.S. Central Command.

On Monday, Mattis had a call with the Canadian minister of national defense, Davis said. Later Monday, he was expected to meet with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including Dunford, Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Paul Selva, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark Milley and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson.

copp.tara@stripes.com
Twitter: @TaraCopp

 

Rear Adm. Craig Faller eats lunch with sailors on USS John C. Stennis' mess decks during Rim of the Pacific 2016.
KENNETH RODRIGUEZ SANTIAGO/U.S. NAVY

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