by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
DOWN THREE AND COUNTING: People who work at the Pentagon have taken to posting on social media pictures of the mahogany-paneled wall just inside the River Entrance, which displays the official portraits of the current members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Three of the eight frames are empty, as Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-AL) stranglehold on more than 300 senior officer promotions continues to block their confirmations.
In Annapolis, Maryland, yesterday, as Adm. Michael Gilday ended his term as chief of naval operations, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin again lamented that the Navy now joins the Army and the Marines with no confirmed military leader.
“This is indeed a proud day, but I want to take a moment to mark a painful milestone,” Austin said. “Starting today, for the first time in the history of the Department of Defense, three of our military services are operating without Senate-confirmed leaders. This is unprecedented, it is unnecessary, and it is unsafe, and this sweeping hold is undermining America’s military readiness. It’s hindering our ability to retain our very best officers, and it is upending the lives of far too many American military families. Our troops deserve better, our military families deserve better, and our allies and partners deserve better, and our national security deserves better.”
BUILDING RAGE: The normally mild-mannered chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee let loose yesterday with a fusillade of opprobrium aimed at Tuberville and Republicans in the Senate who are unable to convince the Alabama senator to find another way to protest the Pentagon’s abortion travel policies.
“Senator Tuberville continues to act like military promotions are a partisan game. His decision to play politics with our troops is having a negative impact up and down the chain of command. His culture war plays are impeding the U.S. military’s real-world ability to deter, fight, and win actual conflicts,” Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) said in a statement.