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Hyten’s nomination to Joint Chiefs of Staff approved by Senate Armed Services Committee

Gen. John E. Hyten speaks during his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing to serve as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, July 30, 2019, on Capitol Hill.

JOE GROMELSKI/STARS AND STRIPES

By CAITLIN M. KENNEY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 31, 2019

WASHINGTON — Air Force Gen. John Hyten’s nomination to be the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff cleared the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, a day after his confirmation hearing when he addressed allegations of sexual misconduct.

Hyten’s nomination was approved in a 20-7 vote by the committee, with Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Gary Peters, D-Mich., voting against him, according to a tweet by Frank Thorp with NBC News. Hyten’s nomination now moves to a full Senate vote.

Hyten, who now leads U.S. Strategic Command, was nominated in April to replace Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, who retired Wednesday after 39 years of service.

Hyten’s confirmation hearing Tuesday was predominately focused on sexual misconduct allegations made against him by a former aide. Several members of the Senate Armed Services Committee said they supported his nomination, including Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former Air Force officer who earlier this year announced she was raped by a superior officer.

“I am confident the full truth was revealed in this process, and the truth is Gen. Hyten is innocent of these charges,” she said during the hearing. “Sexual assault happens in the military, it just didn’t happen in this case.”

The Air Force inspector general conducted an investigation into the allegations, and top Air Force officials, including former Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, determined no evidence existed of the wrongful encounters alleged by Army Col. Kathryn Spletstoser, who identified herself publicly last week in a New York Times story. Wilson, who left the Air Force for academia earlier this year, testified Tuesday that Hyten was innocent.

kenney.caitlin@stripes.com
Twitter: @caitlinmkenney

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