Earlier this month, Adm. William Moran, who was slated to become the next chief of naval operations on Aug. 1, announced he would retire because of his association with a former Navy public affairs officer, who was investigated two years ago for inappropriate conduct.
Moran, who is a four-star admiral serving as the deputy chief of naval operations, was highly regarded, but Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said Moran's contacts with the former public affairs officer called into question his judgment.
Trump's new nominee is currently the director of the Joint Staff and previously commanded the U.S. 10th Fleet and Fleet Cyber Command, the Navy's cyber component.
If confirmed, he would be the first officer to lead a military service who has also commanded a service cyber component, according to Fifth Domain.
"The entire Navy should be very excited by today’s announcement," tweeted the current chief of naval operations Adm. John Richardson on Thursday. "Admiral Mike Gilday is a true cutting edge warfighter, a surface warrior who, by virtue of his leadership at 10th Fleet, fully appreciates the challenges we face in the cyber warfare arena and the increasing pace of competition in new domains."
"His experience as the director of the Joint Staff will ensure that the Navy continues to look for every opportunity to collaborate with other services, allies, and partners around the world. Pending confirmation, the Navy will be in good hands with Admiral Gilday at the helm," Richardson continued.
The president bypassed seven sitting four-star admirals in picking Gilday, according to the U.S. Naval Institute. The last time a three-star admiral was nominated to be the chief of naval operations was in 1970.
Gilday is a native of Lowell, Massachusetts, and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He holds graduate degrees from the Harvard Kennedy School and the National War College.