July 11 (UPI) — Air Force Gen. C.Q. Brown warned that the military “will lose talent” over a blockade on promotions led by Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville.
Brown made his remarks during his confirmation hearing to become the nation’s top military officer as President Joe Biden’s pick for the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Tuberville, R-Ala., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, for months has been able to block promotions and confirmation hearings for the military after the Pentagon announced new policies granting administrative leave and travel expenses for troops seeking an abortion.
Army Gen. Mark Milley, the current chair of the joint chiefs, is required by law to retire in October. The blockade could affect Brown’s confirmation and the 250 senior promotions still pending with a domino effect of reverberations down the entire chain of command.
Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh told NBC News that as many as 650 leadership positions could be vacant by the end of the year if Tuberville’s blockade continues.
“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.”
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., blasted Tuberville for disrespecting military officers and “having their leadership hobbled.”
“I am unaware of anything that they have done that would warrant them being disrespected or punished or delayed in their careers,” Kaine said. “Just because a prerogative can be exercised doesn’t mean it should be exercised.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, called Tuberville’s blockade “reckless” and said he was holding troops “hostage.”
Kaine added that when he feels disappointed about legislation and policy changes, he does not take it out on the men and women volunteering to join the military.
“I would urge all of my colleagues to turn away from the path that we’re on,” Kaine said.
The Marine Corps is currently operating without a confirmed chief for the first time in more than 100 years.