An Alaska senator who put a hold on the nomination of the next Marine Corps commandant said he will allow the confirmation to move ahead after he worked out his concerns with the service officials.
Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, would not reveal to reporters what prompted his objection to Lt. Gen. David Berger taking over the job. Berger was expected to be confirmed to the post last month as part of a larger package of military nominations.
On Wednesday, Sullivan said only that the issue “is between me and Gen. Berger” and that he is dropping his opposition. Berger’s nomination could be finalized by the Senate as early as this week, unless another lawmaker voices new concerns.
Upon final confirmation from the Senate, Berger will pin on a fourth star and become the Corps’ 38th commandant.
Details of Sullivan’s decision to stall the process was first reported by USNI News last week. During his confirmation hearing in April, Sullivan asked Berger about the Marine Corps readiness to fight battles in cold weather terrain, referencing units that had recently visited bases in his state.
“I know it's a critical training requirement for the Marine Corps as is operating in the jungle and it's not transferable,” Berger said. “It is a skill that … if you don't practice it, it will atrophy fast.”
Sullivan did not indicate any opposition at the time.
Why Lt. Gen. David H. Berger was chosen to lead Marines into the next big fight.
Berger currently serves as the commanding general of Marine Corps Combat Development Command. He has commanded Marines in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Berger is in line to replace current commandant, Gen. Robert Neller. If confirmed, he would also receive his fourth star.