WASHINGTON — The Senate has confirmed Gen. Peter Pace as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the first Marine to hold that position.

Pace, 59, will assume the role in September, when current chairman Gen. Richard Myers is scheduled to step down. Myers has served in the post since September 2001.

Pace currently serves as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and previously served as commander in chief of U.S. Southern Command. He was also a rifle platoon leader and an assistant operations officer during the Vietnam War.

He has served with the Marines for 37 years.

During his confirmation hearing last month, Pace said his priorities will be winning the war on terrorism and continuing the military’s transformation into a quicker, more efficient force.

“The foundation of our success in the armed forces is our people — and our focus will remain on recruiting, training and developing our best and brightest to continue to deliver to the American people the finest fighting force in the world,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“We must ensure we take care of these incredible soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and their families by ensuring we have effective programs to support their professional, physical and financial well-being.”

The nomination announcement came last week as lawmakers also approved Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr. to be vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Giambastiani, 57, is currently commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command.

Both men are natives of New York state. Pace was born in Brooklyn, while Giambastiani grew up in Canastota.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now