Joint Chiefs Nominee Knocks Tuberville’s Hold On Military Promotions
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., testifies during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the "Department of the Air Force in review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2024 and the Future Years Defense Program," in Dirksen Building on Tuesday, May 2, 2023.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden‘s nominee to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a warning on Tuesday about an impasse on military promotions.

Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown Jr., who is currently the Air Force chief of staff, was asked by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) during his confirmation hearing to talk about how nomination “holds” affect military families. The question comes as Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) blocks the fast-track approval of military promotions in protest of a Pentagon policy allowing female service members expense-paid travel and up to three weeks leave for an elective abortion.

“There’s several factors that I think about as we’re going through this and how we are working to mitigate the challenges associated with the holes,” Brown said in response. In addition to raising the issue of having senior officers with sufficient experience, Brown said there is a “whole chain of events” that can pile onto junior officers.

“It has an impact on their progression in their career field potentially because if one doesn’t get promoted or move on, then they’re blocking a spot for someone else,” Brown said. “At the same time, we have several members who have served honorably and are ready to retire, but they’re going to, in some cases, stay with us to help us mitigate that challenge.”

Military families must also be considered, said Brown, who listed several factors, such as employment, schools, and living arrangements, that can pose a challenge. He also highlighted how “future retention” can be dictated by a service member’s family.

“We have our more junior officers who now will look up and say, ‘If that’s the challenge I’m going to have to deal with in the future … I’m going to balance between my family and serving in a senior position,'” Brown said. “And we will lose talent because of those challenges. The spouse network is alive and well, and the spouses will compare notes. The member may want to serve, but the spouses and the families get a huge vote.”


Tuberville’s “hold” on general and flag officer promotions, which blocks the Democrat-controlled Senate from approving the nominations quickly and in batches through a “unanimous consent” agreement, has led to a hold-up on the confirmation of hundreds of military promotions — including for a new head of the U.S. Marines.

Despite pushback from Democrats and some Republicans, as well as the Pentagon’s push for the hold to be lifted, Tuberville has stood firm, denying that his stand is hurting military readiness. He has also stressed that the Senate can still hold votes to approve individual nominations if necessary.

When pressed about military families during a CNN interview on Monday night, Tuberville used his answer to argue that the Pentagon policy he opposes would lead to a spike in the number of abortions.

“Let’s think about the unborn. Let’s think about the young people that are not going to be able to get in the military and be part of this country. Let’s think about them,” Tuberville said.

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