Top Navy, Air Force officers join logjam of military nominees being blocked by Tuberville
Stars and Stripes September 27, 2023
WASHINGTON — The nominations of two more top military leaders were approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday and now officially join more than 300 officers whose promotions are being blocked by Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.
The committee said it voted to advance the nominations of Adm. Lisa Franchetti as chief of naval operations and Gen. David Allvin as Air Force chief of staff to the full Senate. Franchetti and Allvin were among thousands of military nominees who were approved Wednesday by voice vote.
“Today, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted by voice en bloc to report out favorably a list of 4,318 military nominations in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Space Force,” according to the committee of which Tuberville is a member.
Also included among the approved promotions, the committee said, were 36 other general and flag officers, who are the top-ranking officers in the armed forces, including generals and admirals.
Tuberville has been blocking military promotions since February over a Pentagon policy to reimburse service members who must travel to other states to receive reproductive health services, including abortions.
Upon their approval, the nominations were immediately sent to the full Senate for confirmation. It’s there that they face a hold by Tuberville. Under Senate rules, any senator can object to voice-vote approvals for large groups of nominees, which is how the upper chamber usually confirms military promotions. Without the voice votes, the Senate must confirm each nominee one at a time. With more than 300 officers needing confirmation, that process would take months, according to a Congressional Research Service report last month. More so, Defense Department officials have said the number of promotions requiring Senate approval could double by the end of 2023.
Last week, the Senate took the time to confirm three top generals waiting for confirmation, including Air Force Gen. Charles “CQ’’ Brown, who was approved to succeed Army Gen. Mark Milley as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Milley is retiring from the Pentagon’s second-highest post this week. Gen. Randy George and Gen. Eric Smith were also confirmed last week by the Senate as the Army chief of staff and Marine Corps commandant, respectively.
“It is well past time to confirm the over 300 other military nominees,” Austin said last week after Brown was confirmed. “The brave men and women of the U.S. military deserve to be led by highly qualified general and flag officers at this critical moment for our national security.”
If confirmed, Franchetti would be the first woman to join the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The 59-year-old admiral joined the Navy in the mid-1980s and has held several commands. She would succeed Adm. Michael Gilday, who retired last month.
Allvin, 60, is nominated to succeed Brown as Air Force chief of staff. A 1986 graduate of the Air Force Academy, he is also a command pilot with more than 4,600 hours, including 100 combat hours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Tuberville, who was a college football coach before he was elected to the Senate in 2020, has given no indication that he will lift his hold on the nominations any time soon. He voted against Brown’s confirmation last week and said in an interview that he objected to efforts by the new chairman to recruit and promote racial minorities in the armed forces.
“Don’t give me this stuff about equal opportunity, because that’s not what this military is about,” Tuberville told Bloomberg Television on Tuesday.