With two key nominees confirmed Thursday evening by a voice vote of senators, the Navy’s top leadership triad is now complete.
Nominated by President Donald Trump on April 11, lawmakers greenlighted Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William “Bill” Moran to fleet up and become CNO, replacing Adm. John Richardson later this summer.
They also confirmed the Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Adm. Robert “Bob” Burke, as Moran’s replacement as VCNO. The move means Burke will pin on a fourth star.
They’ll join the 15th master chief petty officer of the Navy, Russ Smith, who was named by Richardson on Aug. 29 as the sea service’s top enlisted leader.
Moran now will form a transition team to take the helm of the sea service, most likely in July or August.
“I am deeply humbled and honored to be given the opportunity to continue to serve as our Navy’s next chief of naval operations,” said Moran in a prepared statement emailed to Navy Times.
He lauded Adm. Richardson and his wife, Dana, as an “amazing team" that "consistently advocated on behalf of our sailors and their families.”
“My wife, Patricia, and I are grateful for their service to our Navy and our nation. I look forward to the honor of leading the men and women of the world’s greatest Navy in service to our nation,” added Moran.
In mid-June, Rear Adm. John Nowell is expected to replace Burke as the chief of naval personnel. He’s currently serving as Burke’s deputy in charge of military personnel plans and policy.
“It has been an honor and privilege to have had the opportunity to serve as the Navy’s 58th chief of naval personnel, and I look forward to continue serving our sailors and their families as the vice chief of naval operations," said Burke in a statement emailed to Navy Times.
“I am grateful to Navy leadership for their trust and confidence.”
A career sub hunter as the pilot of P-3 Orion patrol planes, Moran rose through the ranks to land key staff and command posts that set him apart from his peers.
Burke is a career submarine officer who helmed the Norfolk-based fast attack boat Hampton and served as commodore of Submarine Development Squadron 12, the command that develops tactics for the underwater Navy.
But their careers intersected at the top levels of the Navy’s Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education leadership. Both became the key architects of the sea service’s massive personnel modernization project, “Sailor 2025,” with Burke following Moran as the chief of naval personnel.
The reforms are designed to streamline the recruitment, training and retention of a 21st century pool of military talent, making it possible for the fleet to grow to 355 ships.
Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.