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Arms Must Cede

Don’t be fooled: Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s hold on military promotions is the process of accountability working as designed.

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Senate Democrats, the military industrial complex, and Washington Post columnist Max Boot are desperate to preserve the military’s unrestricted stranglehold on general and flag officer selection and promotion. Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama's hold on nearly 300 general officer promotions is rooted in righteous indignation over the military’s use of taxpayer dollars to pay for servicemembers’ and dependents’ abortion-related services. This is a good enough reason to support Senator Tuberville, but the root of the establishment’s indignation runs much deeper—to the very core of how the Pentagon avoids responsiveness to civilian leaders. 

Boot, along with his pro-war and pro-abortion Democratic masters, is incensed, because Senator Tuberville’s hold poses an existential threat to the very swampy nature of senior military officer promotions and selection. For too long, the Pentagon has ushered officers through the Senate confirmation process without pausing to seriously question their fitness for service. Senator Tuberville is giving conservatives their first chance to consider who, exactly, is leading our crumbling and tired military.


In a recent column, Boot, who has never served in uniform, insisted that Tuberville is compromising our military readiness with his typically “MAGA” extremism. His argument amounts to an insistence that the military usher its own chosen leaders into the general officer class without Congress or the American people having the opportunity to understand the profiles of these senior leaders. Add proper civilian oversight over military affairs to the set of beliefs that make one a MAGA extremist. 

A review of the Pentagon’s list of delayed nominees raises real questions about the suitability for promotion of too many of these supposedly politically neutral professional warfighters. 

Air Force Brigadier General Elizabeth Alredge, for one, tweeted her concern about the entrenched “whiteness” that exists within all organizations in America. In a Women’s Equality Day speech, Rear Admiral Shoshana Chatfield urged the audience to be skeptical of laws passed by Congress because of the fact “over 80 percent of legislators in Congress are men.” 

Another Air Force Brigadier General, Scott Cain, considered the establishment of one of the first DEI offices at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida to be his most significant accomplishment. This was the same general who insisted his command have “serious conversations” about the death of George Floyd to ensure their readiness to fight wars. 

General C.Q. Brown, the Air Force Chief of Staff and Joe Biden’s nominee to replace Mark Milley, implemented a system of racial and gender quotas for the Air Force officer corps. In Brown’s Air Force, subordinate commands are working hard to ensure white men only make up 43 percent of Air Force officers. While Brown would receive a Senate hearing regardless, one can hope Senator Tuberville’s hold will strike a spark of courage to complicate Brown’s confirmation. 


While the Senate is the only body with jurisdiction over promotions, Tuberville has allies in the lower chamber. With his amendment to the NDAA, Representative Jim Banks of Indiana has done the most significant work to ban irrelevant considerations of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” from matters of accession and qualification. The Senate needs to pick up the baton from Banks, and make genuine change possible at the Pentagon by holding generals and admirals to basic standards of conduct. 

Another of Banks’ amendments would end the Navy’s ludicrous drag queen recruiting program; the officers who gave Navy drag queens like “Harpy Daniels” their drag starts are also on the list of Tuberville’s holds. Admiral Michael P. Donnelly, up for promotion to two-star admiral, commanded the USS Ronald Reagan, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Under Donnelly’s command of the Reagan, “Harpy Daniels” performed numerous drag shows to the adulation of the mainstream media. If Tuberville were not holding military nominations, hosting drag shows on an aircraft carrier would be baked into the military promotion process as an incentive.

Tuberville is using standard Senate procedure to hold the Pentagon accountable. Casting this basic modicum of due diligence as a threat to our national security is a tired tactic. Tuberville is threatening the unquestioned domination of a process by a military and department that are meant to be responsive to civilians. 

This renewed responsiveness could one day produce accountability for the foreign policy failures of the last 20 years. This kind of responsiveness could help the American people ask questions about the money we send to partner militaries overseas; it should compel Pentagon officials to explain why they are promoting so many senior officers dedicated to the DEI regime of the progressive left. The crusade against abortion is a righteous fight in itself, but the gnashing of teeth from the defense establishment shows that they are concerned about a more existential threat to their modus operandi