However, his successor, Gen. Randy George, will not be able to assume the role of Army Chief of Staff due to a procedural tactic employed by Republican Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, which is holding up his official confirmation.
During his tenure as Chief of Staff, Gen. McConville focused on advocating for the Army's modernization program and addressing recruitment issues. President Joe Biden nominated Gen. George, who currently serves as the deputy to the Army Chief of Staff, to take over McConville's position on the Joint Chiefs of Staff in July. However, Gen. George cannot formally accept the role until Congress and the Biden administration resolve the hold placed by Sen. Tuberville.
Gen. McConville began his career in the Army as an aviator and commanded in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He previously served as the commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division and held various staff positions, including vice chief of staff for the Army.
During his time as vice chief under Gen. Mark Milley, the Army's highest-ranking officer at the time, the Army embarked on an ambitious plan to modernize its technology. This plan focused on six foundational priorities: long-range artillery, next-generation combat vehicles, advanced rotorcraft, digital networks, air and missile defense, and soldier lethality. The goal was to ensure that the Army remains the most dominant land force in the world for the next four decades.
While Gen. McConville made significant efforts to prepare the Army for potential conflicts with near-peer adversaries, such as China, the Army has also faced challenges in recruiting new soldiers. The Army's end strength has been reduced to approximately 450,000 soldiers. Gen. McConville acknowledged the need to address these recruitment challenges by ensuring that soldiers are highly trained and equipped.
In terms of retention, Gen. McConville expressed optimism, stating that "retention is really good." However, he acknowledged the need for improvement in recruiting, as the Army had a difficult year in that regard. Despite this, he believed that the trends were moving in the right direction.
In addition to Gen. McConville, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger also relinquished his command in July. The nominee to replace Gen. Berger, Gen. Eric Smith, has been performing a dual role since then.
It is worth noting that members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are legally required to complete four-year terms. The last time the Army had an acting chief was likely in 1972.
The hold placed by Sen. Tuberville on Gen. George's confirmation has raised concerns within the Pentagon. Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder stated that the hold introduces uncertainty into the chain of command at a time when the focus should be on the mission at hand.