General Mark Milley, the chair of the Joint Chiefs, will be stepping aside this week so his replacement can take over.
But, his departure from the most prominent U.S. military position won’t just have big effects here in America. It’s also set to affect the rest of the world, particularly Ukraine.
At the start of the war, when Russia invaded Ukraine, much of the West immediately supported Ukraine in their efforts to fight back their invaders. That support lasted for much of the first year of the conflict.
As the war has continued to drag on, and as Ukraine continues to seek and even in some cases almost demand more and more financial and military aid, some western countries are showing signs that they may not be willing, or able, to continue providing hefty support.
Milley has played an integral role in what the U.S. has done in regard to Ukraine, as he’s been President Joe Biden’s top military adviser for the entirety of the war thus far. He’s been a huge part of deciding what weapons the U.S. should send to Ukraine, as well as what kind of training America should provide Ukrainian military forces.
He had a long-standing relationship with General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, who serves as the commander of the armed forces in Ukraine, along with the top defense officials in other countries.
In fact, Milley worked hand-in-hand with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to have rallied support among the west to provide Ukraine with military equipment and arms that it has used to fight back Russia.
Despite those accomplishments, the war seems no closer to ending now than it did when it began. That means that the man who is replacing Milley in the spot – General C.Q. Brown from the Air Force – with multiple challenges.
Ukraine seems to be wanting another big push before the second winter of the war sets in. Yet, it seems that more and more leaders in the West – including in Washington – are weary of that fight.
Many hard-line Republicans have expressed their opposition to sending more military aid to Ukraine, but they’re not the only ones. Poland said recently it wouldn’t be sending their neighbors any more weapons in the near future. Plus, officials in France hinted they’ll soon reach the point of ramping down their aid as well.
This shift in sentiment over the war comes as Ukraine is requesting more and more aid from western countries. President Volodymyr Zelensky was actually in Washington last week to request this in person, and he received bad news from the Senate, which warned him that it might be harder to get that approved now.
All of this will fall into the lap of Brown, who will have to forge his own path while balancing all the different personalities and requests at the same time. So, while the task ahead remains the same, how Brown will approach it could be completely different than Milley.