The secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force have launched an unprecedented public campaign to pressure Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville to end his dangerous blockade of military promotions and nominations, citing national security. Secretaries Christine Wormuth of the Army, Carlos Del Toro of the Navy, and Frank Kendall of the Air Force wrote a joint op-ed in The Washington Post, and followed that with a rare joint appearance on CNN to sound the alarm about the damage Tuberville’s blockade has already done, and how perilous it is if it continues.
“Three of our five military branches—the Army, Navy and Marine Corps—have no Senate-confirmed service chief in place,” the secretaries write. “Instead, these jobs—and dozens of others across the force—are being performed by acting officials without the full range of legal authorities necessary to make the decisions that will sustain the United States’ military edge. Across the services, many generals and admirals are being forced to perform two roles simultaneously. The strain of this double duty places a real and unfair burden on these officers, the organizations they lead and their families.”
Kendall told CNN’s Jake Tapper that “our potential adversaries are paying attention to this.” He related a recent incident in which an officer from the Air Force spoke with a colonel in China’s People’s Liberation Army and “talked to him about the way our democracy was working,” proving that “potential adversaries are paying attention to this. It is affecting how they view the United States and our military capabilities and support for the military.”
Del Toro added that as someone who was born in a communist country, “I would never have imagined that actually one of our own senators would actually be aiding and abetting communist and other autocratic regimes around the world.” He added that the blockade “is having a real negative impact and it will continue to have a real negative impact on our combat readiness.”
Wormuth told Tapper that the ongoing uncertainty is affecting morale among lower-ranking officers. “I really worry that a lot of those officers who volunteer are going to walk away and basically say, ‘I don’t want to deal with this,’” she said, “‘If this is what it takes to be a general officer, I don’t want to do this.’”
As of late August, 301 promotions and nominations have been blocked by Tuberville in his months-long hissy fit over the Pentagon’s policy allowing military servicemembers access to administrative leave and travel cost reimbursement for abortion services if they have to travel out of state to obtain abortions or other types of reproductive health care, like fertility treatments. That policy, the secretaries reiterated in their op-ed, “is critical and necessary to meet our obligations to the force.” They added that it is also “fully within the law, as confirmed by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.”
Sign the petition: Tell Tommy Tuberville to stop endangering national security.
The far-right justices on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court just can’t handle the fact that liberals now have the majority for the first time in 15 years, so they’re in the throes of an ongoing meltdown—and their tears are delicious. On this week’s episode of “The Downballot,” co-hosts David Nir and David Beard drink up all the schadenfreude they can handle as they puncture conservative claims that their progressive colleagues are “partisan hacks” (try looking in the mirror) or are breaking the law (try reading the state constitution). Elections do indeed have consequences!
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