Army Secretary Christine Wormuth predicted on Tuesday that retirements in the Army will ramp up if Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) hold does not end by Christmas.
Wormuth, while speaking at Politico’s Defense Summit, characterized the hold as “problematic” and expressed concern over its impacts.
“I would expect that if we don’t see the Senate resolve this hold by Christmas there will be more of those,” Wormuth said of the retirements. “I mean, these officers and their families have been waiting for months to have some certainty and to go do the jobs that they have trained and worked hard for for decades.”
Tubervillle has blocked hundreds of non-partisan military nominees from getting promotions as a way to protest and put pressure on the Department of Defense to end its current policy that allows service members to get reimbursements when crossing state lines to get abortions.
Wormuth mentioned that a two-star Army general recently retired due to Tuberville’s hold, which has been in play for more than 10 months.
“I have a two-star general who was awaiting confirmation who has submitted his retirement papers, and has just kind of said I don’t have certainty and at this point, what’s best for my family is to just go ahead and pull my papers,” Wormuth said.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that other Republican senators are trying to strike a deal with the Alabama senator. He mentioned that he is not ready to vote for a standing order resolution that would allow Democrats to package and pass hundreds of nominees in one sitting. The resolution was sponsored by the Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-R.I.).
Wormuth added that the hold is an example of increased partisanship in the U.S. and that it poses a significant concern that could disincentivize the appeal to be a part of the Army.
“In the long term, you know, I really have deep concerns about what my major Lieutenant Colonel’s and Colonels are thinking about this,” Wormuth said. “They already see the increasing partisanship in our nation, how that plays out in hearings up on Capitol Hill.
“I think some of our officers are going to say no, I don’t know if this is what I want to continue to aspire to.”
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