The Senate on Tuesday confirmed the last 11 four-star generals whose promotions Republican Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville blocked over the Pentagon’s abortion travel policy.
Tuberville relented on the majority of his holds on Dec. 5, allowing more than 400 nominations to pass through the Senate, but his concession only affected three-star generals and admirals and below. However, the Pentagon’s abortion travel policy remains in place as the Alabama senator has in recent months been pressed from all sides to find a solution to the holds, and the Senate confirmed the remaining 11 into their positions late on Tuesday in one of the chamber’s last remaining acts before breaking for the holidays.
Nominations piled up since Tuberville’s tactic to force the Department of Defense (DOD) to overturn its policy to cover travel expenses for service members seeking out-of-state abortions became known in March.
“I don’t know. It just depends on how they do it,” Tuberville told Politico earlier on Tuesday. “You know, sooner or later, we’re gonna let them go through, you know? I’ve given 99 percent of them. But you’d think they would say OK, what are we gonna do to get these last 11? I’ve heard from nobody.”
“The overwhelming chance is that these matters will be resolved tonight on voice votes,” Republican Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also told reporters earlier.
Top Pentagon officials said the holds deeply affected national security. Fellow Republicans mostly agreed, saying the unilateral blockade was crippling the military during global crises and hurting people who have no control over schemes of the Department of Defense’s civilian leaders.
Among the officers promoted Tuesday were U.S. Central Command deputy commander Lt. Gen. Gregory Guillot, who is set to take over Northern Command, according to Politico. Lt. Gen. Jim Mingus, director of the Joint Staff, is slated to become vice chief of staff of the Army even though his predecessor, Gen. Randy George, was already confirmed in an individual vote in September to assume the Army’s no. 1 slot and has been filling the duties of both.
Another prominent position now filled is that of the Pacific Fleet commander, with Vice Adm. Stephen Koehler now able to helm the Navy’s operations in an increasingly salient theater, according to Defense News.
Republican. Sen. Eric Schmitt, separately from Tuberville’s blockade, is still holding up promotions for six more senior officers “relating to concerns that he has regarding those nominees’ stances or actions relating to divisive diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in the military,” his office told Defense News.
Micaela Burrow on December 19, 2023