Defense secretary: Senator’s 'unprecedented' blockade sinking 'America’s military readiness'
Editor's note: This article was first published by The New Civil Rights Movement's David Badash. The author byline has been corrected.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin issued a stern public warning Monday that “America’s military readiness” is being undermined as U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville‘s eight-month blockade of all military appointments and promotions requiring Senate approval now encompasses top leaders of three branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Calling Alabama Republican Senator Tuberville’s block on these required confirmations a “sweeping hold,” Defense Secretary Austin warned it is creating a situation for America’s defenses that is “unprecedented,” “unnecessary,” and “unsafe.”
“I want to take a moment to mark a painful milestone,” Secretary Austin said (video below) at a ceremony honoring U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Michael Gilday, who stepped down Monday, as AFP reports.
“As you know more than 300 nominations for our outstanding journal and flag officers are now being held up in the United States Senate. That includes our top uniform leaders in our next Chief of Naval Operations,” Austin announced.
“Because of this blanket hold starting today, for the first time in the history of the Department of Defense, three of our military services are operating without Senate-confirmed leaders. This is unprecedented. It is unnecessary, and it is unsafe. And this sweeping hold is undermining America’s military readiness.”
Starting in February, Senator Tuberville put a hold on all U.S. Military promotions and nominations requiring Senate confirmation, which usually are passed by voice vote and uncontested. Tuberville is under fire for his refusal to allow even the promotions of top Military leaders pass. He claims he has placed this hold in response to the Pentagon’s decision to reimburse service members who now need to travel out of state to obtain abortion services, after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade and some states have enacted abortion bans.
Without mentioning Tuberville by name, Austin made clear the Alabama Republican is single-handedly “hindering our ability to retain our very best officers.” and “up-ending the lives of far too many American military families.”
“Our troops deserve better. Our military families deserve better. And our allies and partners deserve better and our national security deserves better. So let me say again, that smooth and swift transitions have confirmed leadership are central to the defense of the United States and to the full strength of the most lethal fighting force in history. And it’s time for the Senate to confirm all of our superbly qualified military nominees, including the 33rd chief of naval operations.”
Watch the Secretary’s remarks below or at this link.
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