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GOP senator’s obstruction puts national security at risk, says retired army general

By Jake Beardslee · November 3, 2023

In brief…

  • Senator Tommy Tuberville blocking promotions for key US military command roles
  • Includes deputy commander of CENTCOM, commander of 5th Fleet, deputy head of JSOC
  • Retired general Mark Hertling says holds hurt readiness, compound overtime for positions
  • Calls out obstruction as "irrational" and "cruel" after 7 months, risking national security
Retired Army general Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling criticized Senator Tuberville for stalling promotions to high-level military posts for seven months, citing concerns over national security, force readiness, and cruel treatment of servicemen and their families.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Mildred Guevara)/Wikimedia

Several high-level U.S. military promotions remain on hold due to Senate objections from Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville, causing concerns over national security and military readiness according to retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. The promotions that are stalled include the deputy commander of US Central Command, the commander and deputy commander of the fifth fleet, and the deputy commanding general of Joint Special Operations Command - “big, lofty titles” as Hertling described them, in an interview with CNN.

Speaking to the issue, Hertling stated that “in matters of national security, elected civilians have the right to be wrong. Military officials don’t determine policy. We trust our civilian leaders to do that, but we also trust them not to put our military profession at risk to damage our institutions or to be cruel.” However, Hertling argued that Tuberville’s obstruction of these promotions over the past seven months has now crossed a line into being “not only…irrational, but…cruel to both the military officers and their families.”

According to Hertling, the stalled promotions are affecting servicemembers who are “in the fight” and “working double jobs,” as well as preventing officers from assuming new command roles due to military regulations requiring Senate confirmation. Hertling warned that “all of these things are contributing to a national security risk” and decried Tuberville’s actions as “just shameful.” He suggested it was “more important for the senator to continue this performative politics and being cruel than it is for him to sit down and write some legislation.”