Had Mr. Trump been re-elected, officials said, General Milley would most likely have sent the recommendations to the White House for approval, hoping for the best. But the general and Mr Esper believed staff choices faced a smoother selection process under a new Biden administration.
Mr Biden and Mr Austin could always choose other candidates, but Mr Esper and General Milley were confident the new team would approve their selections, which had been vetted and evaluated for several months.
Colonel Dave Butler, spokesman for General Milley, declined to comment for this article.
General Van Ovost is already a four-star officer, leading the Air Force Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. Of the 43 four-star generals and admirals in the US military, she is the only female. A seasoned commander and Air Force Academy graduate, General Van Ovost’s choice to head the Multi-Service Transport Command, also located at Scott Air Force Base, put his strength to good use, officials said.
General Richardson is the three-star commander of the armed component of the Pentagon’s North Command, based in San Antonio, which plays an important role in providing military assistance to FEMA’s Covid vaccination program.
“Very knowledgeable, excellent team builder,” said Anthony R. Ierardi, retired Army First Cavalry Division Commander, where General Richardson was a subordinate, in an email. “Get things done.”