Tommy Tuberville, a senator from Alabama, has put a hold on all “woke” military promotions for six months and the military is struggling because of it.
Tommy Tuberville, a Republican senator from Alabama, has used a Senate procedural maneuver called a “hold” to block the confirmation votes for military promotions. Tuberville has already stopped 301 promotions within the US military and could potentially impact up to 650 more by the end of the year.
Tuberville is using the hold because he objects to the Defense Department’s policy under President Joe Biden, which allows military personnel to take leave and travel for abortion care or reproductive health services if such services are unavailable in their stationed state.
Currently, The Pentagon defends this abortion policy in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling. They argue that ending this policy could make it more challenging to retain talent and attract new service members.
However, Tuberville is now working with a conservative organization called the American Accountability Foundation. This group is known for its mission to “expose the left’s secrets and hold Biden accountable.”
The American Accountability Foundation has identified officers who are up for promotion and have supported diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts within the military. They published their findings on Twitter and described them as “one of the WOKEST slates of military nominees ever assembled.”
The consequence of Tuberville’s actions has drawn significant concern from civilian military leaders. Defense officials say some officers are working double duty and cannot properly prepare and plan due to the lack of proper personnel.
In The Washington Post, Carlos Del Toro, the Secretary of the Navy; Frank Kendall, the Secretary of the Air Force; and Christine Wormuth, the Secretary of the Army, wrote, “Placing a blanket hold on all general and flag officer nominees, who as apolitical officials have traditionally been exempt from the hold process, is unfair to these military leaders and their families.”
In an interview with Bloomberg, Kelly Grieco, a senior member of the Reimagining US Grand Strategy Program at the Stimson Center, said, “The military has been filling these vacant positions with temporary commanders, but those acting in a temporary capacity face limits on their authority.”
Grieco also stated, “In the short term, these holds are probably a manageable risk, but the long-term risks are growing, especially to officer morale and retention. More fundamentally, it further politicizes the military, with the potential for significant and lasting harm to civil-military relations.”
Loss of Faith
This standoff ultimately reflects the broader culture wars that have infiltrated American politics, even reaching the usually bipartisan realm of the military. Polls show a decline in public confidence in the military, with only 32% expressing a “great deal” of confidence in June 2023, down from 43% in 2013 and 48% in 2003.
While Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer might attempt to push through some of the blocked nominations, Tuberville’s procedural challenges could slow down the process, potentially consuming several days for each person.
Many people are frustrated with Tuberville’s hold, with one social media user stating this is a situation of, “Ego, then party, then country. Misplaced priority.”
Another user commented, “If a woman has an ectopic pregnancy, they have more hoops to jump through, and military women don’t have the luxury to have a lifesaving procedure done when Tuberville thinks it should be done (which is never). I’m glad he stated he’s politicizing this, as he just stated he wants to prohibit military women (or spouses) from traveling for health procedures. Recall Tuberville.”
This user made a point to discuss the hold’s greater impact and said, “Several top positions aren’t filled because Tuberville is holding them hostage to get what he wants, not to mention the hundreds of military service men and women not getting promotions because of him. He’s welcome to argue his stance on abortion, but holding the military hostage is not the way to do it.”
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