President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the chief military officer in charge of the U.S. nuclear weapon stockpile was confirmed by the Senate.
The Senate confirmed Vice Adm. Charles Richard to be the head of the U.S. Strategic Command by unanimous consent on Thursday evening, according to The Hill.
He will also become a four-star admiral as part of the confirmation.
“As a former deputy commander of StratCom, Admiral Richard understands the responsibilities of the command and its mission well,” Sen. Deb Fischer, (R-Neb.) said in a press release ahead of the confirmation.
She added: “With threats from Russia and China continuing to grow, nuclear deterrence is becoming more important than ever and StratCom requires experienced and capable leadership.”
Fisher is the chair of the Senate subcommittee that oversees U.S. strategic forces.
He will succeed the current commander, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, confirmed last month by the Senate as the next Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Richard assumed command of the U.S. Submarine Forces last year during a ceremony in Virginia.
“We are back in a world that is in the midst of major power competition, something that we have not seen in many decades,” he said last year, according to the Omaha World-Herald. “And in that competition, our strength undersea is a key advantage that we have.”
Richard also called on the sailors under him to prepare for battle.
“It is only by being prepared for battle that we can hope to avoid it,” he said. “And if we cannot, our nation expects and demands victory. We shall not fail.”
During the Senate Armed Services Committee, he was pressed on two treaties.
“I will support any arms control or other treaty that enhances the security of this nation,” Richard said, according to The Hill. He was asked about the Open Skies Treaty and the New START Treaty.
It comes a few months after the United States formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia.
“The United States has fully adhered to the INF Treaty for more than 30 years, but we will not remain constrained by its terms while Russia misrepresents its actions,” Trump said in a statement issued by the White House last year. “We cannot be the only country in the world unilaterally bound by this treaty, or any other.”
And the State Department said in August that the withdrawal was because Russia wasn’t keeping up its end of the bargain.
“Russia failed to return to full and verified compliance through the destruction of its noncompliant missile system—the SSC-8 or 9M729 ground-launched, intermediate-range cruise missile,” the State Department said.