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Sec Def: GOP senator’s hold on military promotions poses national security risk

May 10, 2023

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In an ongoing standoff over the Defense Department’s abortion policy, the confirmation of 160 military promotions remains on hold, causing concerns among top officials and raising questions about the impact on U.S. national security. Sen. Tommy Tuberville has utilized the promotions as leverage to urge the Defense Department to rescind its policy that utilizes taxpayer money to fund abortion services for members of the military community.

“This is not about abortion,” Tuberville said. “We’ve had abortions for years in the military. We have a law in this country called the Hyde Amendment that says taxpayer money will not be used for abortions, because some people believe in it, some people don’t. Again, this is a change in the policy from the White House.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently addressed Senate Democrats through a letter, highlighting the self-inflicted harm being caused to national security due to the delay in confirming top military generals. The letter underscored that 64 nominations for three- and four-star positions, including the chief of staff of the Army, chief of naval operations, commanders of the Marine Corps, and commanders in the Middle East, are currently pending.

“Never before has one senator prevented the Department of Defense from managing its officer corps in this manner, and letting this hold continue would set a perilous precedent for our military, our security, and our country,” Austin wrote in the letter to Democratic lawmakers. “Delays in confirmation will soon foist vacancies on the most senior military positions across each of the Services, imposing new and unnecessary risks on U.S. warfighters across multiple theaters of operations.”

Additionally, there are numerous one- and two-star nominations on hold for general officers and flag officers. Austin emphasized that the prolonged hold-up is generating confusion and uncertainty throughout the U.S. military’s chain of command.

However, Sen. Tuberville has shown no signs of relenting, as Senate Republicans continue to advocate for the Pentagon to suspend its abortion policy until the Senate can vote on the matter. Tuberville has expressed his commitment to maintaining the hold until his concerns are addressed satisfactorily.

“My hold is not affecting readiness and they won’t make anybody starve,” Tuberville wrote in a guest opinion column for Alabama.com. “No matter the name calling and media pressure, I will keep my holds in place until the Biden administration follows the law.”

Austin revealed that approximately 650 general and flag officers will require Senate confirmation by the end of the year, placing all these critical positions in jeopardy until the impasse is resolved.

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160 MILITARY PROMOTIONS ARE CURRENTLY ON HOLD AS ONE SENATE REPUBLICAN — TOMMY TUBERVILLE OF ALABAMA — IS HOLDING THE PROMOTIONS AS LEVERAGE TO GET THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT TO RESCIND A POLICY THAT USES TAXPAYER MONEY TO FUND ABORTION SERVICES FOR MILITARY MEMBERS.
DEFENSE SECRETARY LLOYD AUSTIN HAS NOW SENT A LETTER TO SENATE DEMOCRATS SAYING THE HOLD ON THE CONFIRMATION OF TOP MILITARY GENERALS IS CAUSING QUOTE “SELF-INFLICTED HARM TO U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY.”
AUSTIN WROTE IN THE LETTER THERE ARE 64 THREE-AND-FOUR-STAR NOMINATIONS PENDING FOR HIGH RANKED POSITIONS SUCH AS CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE ARMY –THE CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS –COMMANDERS OF THE MARINE CORPS –AND COMMANDERS IN THE MIDDLE EAST.
THERE ARE ALSO SEVERAL ONE-AND-TWO-STAR NOMINATIONS ON HOLD FOR GENERAL OFFICERS AND FLAG OFFICERS.
AUSTIN SAYS THE HOLD UP IS CREATING CONFUSION AND UNCERTAINT ACROSS THE U.S. MILITARY.
MEANWHILE –SENATOR TUBERVILLE HAS SHOWN NO SIGNS OF LETTING UP —
WITH SENATE REPUBLICANS PUSHING FOR THE PENTAGON TO SUSPEND ITS ABORTION POLICY UNTIL THE SENATE CAN VOTE ON IT.
TUBERVILLE SAID HE’LL CONTINUE HOLDING OUT FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES.
AUSTIN SAID 650 GENERAL AND FLAG OFFICERS WILL REQUIRE SENATE CONFIRMATION BETWEEN NOW AND THE END OF THE YEAR –ALL OF THOSE JOB TITLES IN JEOPARDY UNTIL THE STANDSTILL COMES TO AN END.

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