Senators late Thursday confirmed Navy Adm. Christopher Grady to serve as the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, filling the key leadership post after nearly a month of vacancy.

The move came without objection as chamber leaders work to wrap up their legislative business before a planned holiday break. Grady had been unanimously approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier in the week.

Grady replaces Air Force Gen. John Hyten, who retired from the vice chief post in November. Numerous lawmakers expressed concern in the weeks leading up to his retirement that the White House was slow to nominate his successor, and warned that a lengthy wait to confirm a replacement could create leadership issues at the Pentagon.

Administration officials downplayed those concerns but pushed for quick consideration of Grady’s nomination in the Senate.

For the last three years, Grady served as head of U.S. Fleet Forces Command and U.S. Naval Forces Northern Command. His 37-year military career has spanned numerous leadership roles, including commanding the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

In his confirmation hearing earlier this month, Grady said as vice chairman he will focus on “leveraging our competitive advantages” to ensure the U.S. military stays the strongest in the world.

That includes working with “our many allies and partners with whom we are stronger together” and supporting “our servicemen and women who are always resolute, ready and lethal on arrival.”

The Senate is expected to finish up several other Defense Department leadership confirmations over the next few days before leaving for recess.

Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.

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