Tuberville’s hold stalling more than 100 Air Force, Space Force promotions
The senator’s hold also hurts military families, officials say.
More than 100 Department of the Air Force promotions are stalled due to Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s hold on Defense Department nominations.
As of July 12, 97 Air Force and six Space Force nominations are in limbo because of the holds, a department spokesperson told Defense One.
“There are 19 Department of the Air Force three- and four-star general officers due to rotate this year. Of the 19 positions, there are two combatant commanders, two [major command] commanders, and five joint commanders and directors. These positions are critical to the pursuit of global, regional, and functional objectives, providing offensive, defensive and support elements for the Indo-Pacific, European, Southwest Asia and homeland theaters,” the spokesperson said.
Since February, the Alabama Republican has maintained a blanket hold on senior military and civilian nominees as a protest against Pentagon abortion policy, preventing them from receiving the U.S. Senate confirmation they need to assume their next jobs. Pentagon officials have been increasingly vocal about the effects of the hold, which they say is reducing the U.S. military’s readiness in the Pacific.
Currently, more than 279 general and flag officer nominations are in limbo across the military. “If the holds don’t lift by the end of the year, nearly 650 of the more than 850 general and flag officer nominations will be affected,” the Air Force spokesperson said.
The uncertainty harms more than 70 Department of the Air Force families, the spokesperson said—if the families must wait to move to a new duty station, children won’t be able to start at a new school when the school year begins, and spouses can’t start new jobs.
A group of military spouses recently delivered a petition to Tuberville, calling the holds “highly inappropriate and unpatriotic,” and asking the senator to lift the holds and “stop playing politics with the military.”
The confirmation holds also “pose challenges to our nation’s ability to assure allies and partners during a strategically critical time and deter adversaries who may seek to exploit our inability to effectively transition our nation’s most senior military leaders,” the Air Force spokesperson said.
Asked if the Air Force can still move people around despite the holds, the spokesperson said service chiefs’ tenure is limited by law, and vice chiefs will step up in an acting capacity.
But combatant commanders do not have term limits, so they will either “remain in place or their deputy/vice will become the acting if the decision is made for the incumbent to vacate the position.”