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Using the Military for Politics – The State of Promotions in the US Military

Active Military
Active Military
December 1, 2023
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Editor’s note: Setting our personal beliefs aside, should one politician be able to keep hundreds of troops, who had no part in the matter, from being promoted because of their personal beliefs? This article is not trying to sway you from your own convictions, but rather highlight the absurdity of how some elected officials will take their political misgivings out on those who had nothing to do with their frustrations, and misrepresent their reasons for doing so.

For the last several months, those military promotions which require congressional approval, O-6 and above, have been held hostage by a single Senator, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama. Typically, the entire block of personnel to be promoted is voted on as a whole, saving considerable time as there are hundreds of promotions involved. These personnel are the leadership of the armed forces, sometimes even in the top seat of their respective branch. 

This is bad, you know it's bad when the US Senate Committee on Armed Services prepares a whole report on how badly one person is screwing our national defense and individual service members. 

Senator Tuberville, a former football coach, is using the rules of the Senate to block these promotion votes from going through, delaying them by months with no end in sight. The Senator, who himself has never served in the armed forces, takes exception to a Pentagon policy that states some service members may be able to travel to receive an abortion. Let’s read the actual policy:

“Consistent with federal law, this care is provided in cases where the life of the mother would be endangered should the fetus be carried to term, or in the case in which the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest (described within DOD as “covered abortions”). Federal law prohibits the DOD from performing, or paying for the performance of, abortions for any other reason.” - DOD policy

Why does all this matter? They could just get promoted later… except military promotions don’t always work that way. In some cases, delays mean long serving members will have to leave the military due to service limitations. They effectively get “timed out”. In some situations, the delay was so unexpected that some branch leaders retired, only to leave their posts unfilled, as those who were due for promotion were left sitting on the bench. No to mention, this is preventing military members, and their families, from receiving the pay, benefits, and career advancements they have worked for decades to earn.

“There is nobody more military than me.”- Sen Tommy Tuberville- AL

“As far as I can tell, there’s at least four of us, maybe more, that served in the United States military. In some cases, for decades, and at least three combat veterans. So I take great exception to what Senator Tuberville had to say. And I’ve heard him say it before and it just doesn’t make any sense.” - Sen Mark Kelly- AZ

The effect on military readiness is staggering, and only likely to get worse with time. Without leadership in key points, organizations are essentially held in place. Imagine the effect if entire battalions of troops were unable to perform their duties because they were missing key personnel. Ships remain in port, planes remain grounded, all while people in suits with agendas smile and make jokes. 

The leadership of both the Democratic and Republican parties have both expressed displeasure and concern over the continued failure of Sen. Tuberville to acquiesce to our nation’s need for effective national security, but until action is taken to remove the loophole allowing his hold, it seems for the time being no one will blink.

Side note: Did you know the Pentagon considers dementia a National Security Risk

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