Senate Confirms Hundreds of Military Noms After Tuberville Releases Holds, Four Navy Flag Billets Still Stalled

December 5, 2023 2:05 PM
U.S. Capitol on Dec. 29, 2022. USNI News Photo

The Senate has confirmed more than 425 military nominees after Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) announced Tuesday that he would drop his almost 10-month hold on military promotions for those being promoted to three stars and below.

Tuberville, who has held up en bloc voting on military promotions over the Pentagon policy for abortion, told reporters on the Capitol that the hold will remain for those being promoted to four stars. Sen. Tommy Tuberville announces he’s releasing his holds on all military nominees under four stars.

“I’m releasing everybody, I still got a hold on – I think – 11 four-star generals. Everybody is completely released from me,” Tuberville told reporters outside the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday.
“It’s over.”

Tuberville’s en bloc voting hold has held up more than 430 nominations across the Department of Defense. With the en bloc hold in place, the Senate would have to vote on each nomination separately, which could take hours compared to the much quicker en bloc voting.

Shortly after Tuberville released the hold, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), brought the nominees to the Senate floor and they were quickly confirmed.

Prior to Tuesday, the Senate has called cloture for a few of the military’s top positions, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. C.Q. Brown, Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Eric Smith and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti.

The Senate also used cloture to approve Gen. Christopher Mahoney as the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps after Smith experienced cardiac arrest.

“We’re encouraged by the news,” Pentagon spokesman Brig. Pat Ryder told reporters on Tuesday. “We’ll continue to stay engaged with Sen. Tuberville in the Senate directly to urge that all the holds on all our general flag officer nominations be lifted to include those nominated for four stars.”

Across the Department of Defense, there will still be 11 nominees that will be held up under the new hold including four Navy positions – vice chief of naval operations, Naval Reactors director and next leader of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Vice Adm. Jim Kilby, current deputy commander of U.S. Fleet Forces has been nominated for the VCNO job while Vice Adm. Bill Houston, commander of U.S. Submarine Forces has been nominated to lead Naval Reactors.

CNO Franchetti is currently filling in for both VCNO and CNO while the current director of Naval Reactors Adm. Frank Caldwell will remain in the position until Houston is confirmed for the eight-year stint, USNI News understands.

Current PACFLEET commander Adm. Sam Paparo was nominated to lead INDO-PACOM while Vice Adm. Stephen Koehler, who serves as the director for Strategy, Plans and Policy, J5, was nominated to lead PACFLEET. Both those nominations were announced earlier than normal by the Biden administration along with the CNO and VCNO nominations in July, USNI News reported at the time.

Tuberville started the en bloc voting hold in opposition to the DOD policy that granted leave and travel reimbursement for service members who needed to travel out of state for non-covered reproductive care, which included abortion.

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
Follow @hmongilio

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