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Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley tests positive for coronavirus

Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrives on Capitol Hill before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in September. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the latest top Defense Department official to be infected with the rapidly spreading virus this month.

Milley tested positive Sunday after receiving negative test results for several days beforehand, according to Joint Staff spokesperson Col. Dave Butler, who said the chairman has been vaccinated, including with a booster shot. Milley “is experiencing very minor symptoms,” Butler said in a statement Monday.

The statement said the chairman remains able to “perform all his duties,” is working remotely and is isolating himself from other people. Later Monday, Butler released a statement indicating Milley had held a phone call with his Finnish counterpart to discuss “items of mutual security interest and ways to continue ... improving military cooperation and collaboration.”

Separately, the Marine Corps said Monday that its top general, Commandant David Berger, also had tested positive. In a brief statement, officials said, “The performance of his duties will remain unaffected.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin tests positive for coronavirus

According to Butler’s initial statement, Milley was in contact with President Biden most recently on Wednesday, when both attended a funeral at Fort Myer in Arlington, Va., for Army Gen. Raymond Odierno, who was commanding officer in Iraq of the president’s late son, Beau. Both Odierno and Beau Biden died of cancer.

Milley’s positive coronavirus test came two weeks after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus after developing mild symptoms while on leave at home. Austin also was fully vaccinated and had received a booster.

Neither that announcement nor the one about Milley’s positive test disclosed their variant of the virus, but the two officials developed symptoms as omicron is spurring record numbers of cases.

Dan Lamothe contributed to this report.