Adm. Franchetti Takes Reins as Acting Chief of Naval Operations

She is the third military service chief in an acting role without Senate confirmation - a historic first, according to the Pentagon

Adm. Franchetti (left), Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, and Adm. Gilday (USN)
Adm. Franchetti (left), Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, and Adm. Gilday (USN)

Published Aug 14, 2023 9:31 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Monday, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti took over the Navy's most senior role on an acting basis. 

Outgoing CNO Adm. Mike Gilday welcomed Franchetti and said that she was well-positioned to lead the Navy as it shifts its focus to great power competition. 

"She is a warfighter with combat experience, she’s an operational leader, she’s a strategist, she’s an innovator, she’s a team builder, she’s a trailblazer, she’s an example of personal and professional resilience – and a testament to the power of the American dream to inspire service and sacrifice," said Gilday. 

Like the heads of the Army and the Marine Corps, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and about 300 other top officers across the armed forces, Franchetti cannot fully take on her permanent role until Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) lifts an eight-month hold on routine Senate confirmation proceedings. It is the first time in history that three branches of the armed forces are operating without confirmed leadership. 

“This is unprecedented, it is unnecessary, and it is unsafe,” he added. “This sweeping hold is undermining America’s military readiness. It’s hindering our ability to retain our very best officers. And it’s upending the lives of far too many American military families," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at the change of command ceremony Monday. 

Sen. Tuberville says that he will not lift the blanket hold unless the Pentagon rescinds a policy of reimbursing servicemembers for travel expenses they incur in obtaining an abortion. However, he has said that he is willing to allow each nomination to be considered and voted on individually on the Senate floor, which political observers say would consume much of the time available for other Senate business. Military promotions are usually approved en masse, often by voice vote, and the Senate's Democratic leadership has refused to turn to one-by-one approvals to break the impasse.