Tuberville’s politically driven move “is unfair to these military leaders and their families ... and is putting our national security at risk,” the Army’s Christine Wormuth, the Navy’s Carlos Del Toro and the Air Force’s Frank Kendall wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece.
Tuberville is blocking the promotions in protest of a Pentagon policy that gives service members paid leave and travel costs to get an abortion in another state. His move has left the Army, Navy and Marine Corps without a Senate-confirmed leader and has “prevented the Defense Department from placing almost 300 of our most experienced and battle-tested leaders into critical posts around the world,” the leaders added.
Many top duties “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,” the secretaries said.
The officials delved into the personal toll on military families whose service members must maintain two residences because of the uncertainty of their interim appointments while keeping spouses and children in limbo as well.
“These military leaders are being forced to endure costly separations from their families — a painful experience they have come to know from nearly 20 years of deployments to places such as Iraq and Afghanistan,” the secretaries wrote.
“All because of the actions of a single senator.”
Tuberville’s tactics have “eroded” the United States’ “enduring military advantage” and will have a “corrosive effect” on up-and-coming officers seeking higher posts because they’ll view lawmakers as uncommitted to their mission.
The secretaries wrote that bipartisan support for service members has been compromised by Tuberville, who instead of “seeking a resolution to the impasse” has suggested “he would escalate it.”
“We believe that the vast majority of senators and of Americans across the political spectrum recognize the stakes of this moment and the dangers of politicizing our military leaders,” they said. “It is time to lift this dangerous hold and confirm our senior military leaders.”
The opinion piece followed a Washington Post article about the Marine Corps’ top general, Eric Smith, who said he has been restricted by Tuberville’s voting blockade.
Tuberville, the former Auburn University football coach who has courted controversy with seemingly supportive comments about white nationalists in the military, claimed Saturday on X that his protest of the Pentagon’s abortion policy is to “get politics out of the military.”