Secretary of the Army, Navy and Air Force on Monday launched an offensive against Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) for blocking military promotions.
Tuberville’s politically motivated move “is unfair to these military leaders and their families … and jeopardizes our national security,” wrote the Army’s Christine Wormuth, the Navy’s Carlos Del Toro and the Air Force’s Frank Kendall in a Washington Post opinion piece.
Tuberville is blocking the promotions in protest at a Pentagon policy that allows military personnel paid leave and travel expenses to have an out-of-state abortion. His move has left the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps without a Senate-approved leader and “prevented the Department of Defense from deploying nearly 300 of our most experienced and battle-hardened leaders.” critical posts around the world,‘ the leaders added.
Many top jobs “are performed by acting officials without the full range of legal authority needed to make decisions that maintain the United States’ military lead,” the ministers said.
Officials delved deeply into the personal pressures on military families, whose military members are forced to maintain dual residences due to the uncertainty of their provisional appointments, while leaving spouses and children in limbo.
“These military leaders are forced to endure costly separations from their families — a painful experience they have learned from nearly 20 years of deployments in places like Iraq and Afghanistan,” the secretaries wrote.
“All because of the actions of a single senator.”
Tuberville’s tactics have “undermined” the “enduring military advantage” of the United States and will have a “destructive effect” on aspiring officers who aspire to higher posts because they see lawmakers as uncommitted to their mission.
The secretaries wrote that bipartisan support for military officials was hurt by Tuberville, who, instead of “seeking a solution to the impasse,” has suggested “let it escalate.”
“We believe the vast majority of Senators and Americans across the political spectrum recognize the challenges of this moment and the dangers of politicizing our military leaders,” they said. “It is time to reverse this dangerous influence and reaffirm our senior military leaders.”
The opinion piece followed a Washington Post article about top Marine Corps General Eric Smith, who said he was restricted by Tuberville’s electoral blockade.
Tuberville, the former Auburn University football coach who has stirred controversy with seemingly supportive comments about white nationalists in the military, claimed on X Saturday that his protest at the Pentagon’s abortion policy is to “pull politics out of the military.”