‘These holds jeopardize our national security:’ Department of Defense weighs in on Senator Tuberville’s halt to military promotions

Two leaders with ties to north Alabama face increasingly difficult decision to retire
WAFF 48's Megan Plotka reporting
Published: Jul. 18, 2023 at 10:10 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Department of Defense is weighing in on an Alabama Senator’s unprecedented campaign to change a Pentagon abortion policy. As a result of Senator Tommy Tuberville’s actions, hundreds of military promotions are now at a standstill, leaving many key positions open and pushing retirements back.

The Department of Defense implemented a policy to allow funding access for abortions for military personnel, but in protest, Senator Tuberville has put a halt to congressional votes on crucial military promotions. This has affected top officials, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff, generals, admirals, and even the Commandant of the Marine Corps, whose successor cannot take their place due to the ongoing stalemate.

WAFF 48's Megan Plotka reporting

Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh warns that this situation poses a significant threat to national security and readiness. Over 270 promotions are blocked by the senate, so acting officials have to take on the roles of multiple leaders, and the burden becomes unmanageable, potentially compromising military capabilities and relationships with allies worldwide.

“This hold jeopardizes our national security and our readiness,” explains Singh. “You are already seeing that with an acting Commandant of the Marine Corps, something that we have not experienced in over a century. We have one person doing the job of two.”

Leaders at the Redstone Arsenal, like Lieutenant General Daniel Karbler with the Space and Missile Defense Command and Vice Admiral Jon Hill, are caught in a gray area. They were set to retire, but due to the current stalemate, they are unsure about their future, and if they do retire, there may be no one to replace them, leaving critical roles vacant.

Redstone representatives announced that LTG Karbler will be extended his command with this statement:

“The ongoing confirmation holds on military nominees cause unnecessary risks to the readiness of the force. These holds also impact military families. The inability of senior officers to assume new assignments triggers a chain of events affecting junior officers and military families down the chain of command. While we welcome additional time with LTG Karbler as commanding general, we also recognize the impact on him and his family.”

The impact of Senator Tuberville’s actions reverberates across the entire military, with many leaders now facing tough choices. Unless the situation is resolved soon, more positions may require personnel to perform dual-hatted roles.

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