The Pentagon announced Wednesday its nomination for the next leader of U.S. naval forces in the Middle East, less than one week after the former commander was found dead in his Bahrain residence.

Congress must still sign off on Vice Adm. James Malloy becoming the next commander of 5th Fleet and Naval Forces Central Command, but the three-star has been at fleet headquarters in Bahrain since last weekend.

He’s now slated to replace Vice Adm. Scott Stearney, 58, who was found dead Dec. 1.

Foul play is not suspected in Stearney’s death, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said in a Dec. 1 social media message.

Malloy currently serves as deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans, and strategy at the Pentagon.

A surface warfare officer, his prior assignments including commanding the Bahrain-based Destroyer Squadron 50 and several positions at sea and ashore in Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

As an admiral, Malloy served as U.S. Central Command’s deputy director of operations and commanded Carrier Strike Group 10 in the war against Islamic State fighters.

He also served as the Joint Staff’s vice director of operations.

Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at

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