April 07, 2023

Warren Seeks Answers from DoD on How Republican Delay of Nominees Harms National Security and Military Readiness

Senate Republican Holds are Delaying 158 High-Level Military Nominees, Preventing Them from Fulfilling their Duties “The broad use of holds on the nominations of civilian and military officials at DaD threatens to undercut the national security of the United States.”

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Personnel, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III asking about the national security and military readiness impacts of Senator Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) blanket holds preventing the Senate from advancing nearly 160 Department of Defense (DoD) military nominees. 

“The American people deserve to know the impacts of these holds,” wrote Senator Warren. “In my role as Chair of the Subcommittee on Personnel for the Committee on Armed Services, I am committed to conducting vigorous oversight of military policy and decision-making, and I am concerned that these indiscriminate holds could impact military personnel around the world.”

Since February of this year, Senator Tuberville has put blanket holds on DoD nominees, including the commander of the U.S. 5th Fleet in the Middle East and 7th Fleet in the Pacific and the U.S. Military Representative to NATO’s Military Committee. 

“In coming months, the consequences could escalate, with a ‘plethora of senior military leaders’ set to retire or leave their posts from the Marine Corps, Navy, and Army, including seventy three- and four- star generals and admirals,” wrote Senator Warren. “This includes the president’s principal military advisor, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the heads of U.S. Northern Command, Space Command, and Cyber Command that are set to rotate out of their posts this year.”

Secretary Austin and other national security officials have warned at Senate Armed Services Committee hearings that these holds harm military readiness and that the holds have impacted the US military response to potential threats from Iran, China, and North Korea. 

Senator Warren is requesting that the Department of Defense provide information on which positions will go unfilled and the risks these vacancies pose to U.S. national security and military readiness no later than April 21, 2023.