July 27, 2023

Duckworth Reiterates Call for Tuberville to End His Dangerous Hold on Military Promotions


[WASHINGTON, DC] – Combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)—member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC)—joined SASC Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) and several of her Senate Democratic colleagues on the Senate floor last night to condemn U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville’s (R-AL) reckless, partisan hold on more than 260 military promotions, which is hurting our military readiness and national security. In her remarks, Duckworth highlighted six different individuals who are nominated to serve in important merit-based military positions, but have not been confirmed as a direct result of Senator Tuberville’s blockade. Video of the Senator’s remarks can be found here.

“Several times, I’ve seen Senator Tuberville say that his hold on over 260 senior military officers is not hurting military readiness and national security—and if it did, he would stop the hold,” said Duckworth. “Well, the nominations I highlighted on the Senate floor last night are just a handful of important military positions that are being left unfilled because of Senator Tuberville’s personal, political hold. I once again urge my colleague to reconsider.”

Senator Duckworth has repeatedly called for Senator Tuberville to end his months-long blanket hold on military promotions. Recently, Duckworth joined other SASC members in calling on U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to help end Tuberville’s hold. Earlier this month, Duckworth called Tuberville out, arguing that his actions have left our Marines without a Commandant for the first time in more than a century, holds our servicemembers and military families hostage over an individual senator’s political agenda and threatens our military readiness and national security.

In May, Duckworth joined colleagues in asking for unanimous consent on the Senate floor to confirm the military nominations that are being blocked by Senate Republicans, led by Tuberville.

Duckworth’s full remarks as delivered below:

Madam President, I join my colleagues today in expressing my great disappointment in my colleague from Alabama and his continuing hold on military promotions.

He has argued—and I've seen him see say this several times—that he is not affecting military readiness, and that this hold on the promotion of senior officers does not hurt our national security.

And if it did hurt our military readiness, that he would certainly stop the hold.

So, I'm here to tell you about six different jobs and individuals nominated to those particular positions and for people to decide whether or not they think that having these positions go unfilled with a confirmed officer is jeopardizing our military readiness.

The first position is at the Army Space and Missile Defense Command.

This is the Army's Force Modernization Proponent and Operational Insert Integrator for Global Space Missile Defense and High Altitude Capabilities.

It sits at the nexus of integrated deterrence between the United States Space Command, U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Northern Command.

A pretty important job, I would think.

To fill the position, the President has nominated Major General Sean Gainey to be a Lieutenant General in the United States Army and the Commanding General of this U.S. Space and Missile Defense Command.

Major General Gainey has served for 33 years and has moved some 15 times in those years of service. He's a graduate from the Georgia Southern University ROTC program.

And in those 33 years of service, he has earned the distinguished Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with one bronze oak leaf cluster and the Bronze Star.

He currently serves as Director of the Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office, Director of Fires, Office of Deputy Chief of Staff GS 357, United States Army, Washington, D.C.

I think the U.S. Space and Missile Defense Command is a pretty important job and pretty relevant to our national security.

A second position that is being left unfilled with a confirmed nominee is that of Deputy Chief of Staff G for United States Army, Head of Army Logistics.

We have been talking at length about logistics in a contested environment, especially in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Army G4 develops implemented overseas army strategy, policy plans and programming for logistics and sustainment to enable total Army readiness today and a force modernized for the future.

To fill the position of the Deputy Chief of Staff G4 Army Logistics is Major General Heidi Hoyle.

Major Hoyle graduated from the West Point Military Academy, embarked on a 29-year career spanning 20 different assignments, including her position as the Director of Operations within the Office of the Army G4 as well as numerous combat deployments.

She has been awarded the Legion of Merit with two bronze oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

She's more than qualified to fill this position and the position needs her in it.

Another position that is going unfilled with a confirmed officer is to be is to be filled by Brigadier General Laurence Linton to be Major General in United States Army Reserve.

Brigadier General Linton is currently serving as Deputy Commanding General Support at 88th Readiness Division at Fort Snelling, Minnesota.

Brigadier General Linton graduated from the State University of New York ROTC program, began a 31-year career of service and included 24 different duty assignments notably deploying to Haiti, Bosnia and Kuwait.

General Linton served most recently as Chief of Staff of Operation Warp Speed, the critical effort to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination development.

General Linton has been awarded the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal with silver oak leaf cluster and one bronze oak leaf cluster.

I cannot think of someone more deserving of this promotion.

The president is also nominated Brigadier General Stacy M. Babcock to be a Major General in the United States Army Reserve.

Most recently, General Babcock served as Deputy Commanding General United States Army Human Resources Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky, graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology ROTC program in 1991 and has now served 32 years of career-spanning 25 different assignments including a deployment to Bosnia and three separate deployments to Iraq.

General Babcock has been awarded the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.

The President has also nominated Colonel Peggy McManus to be a Brigadier General in the Army Reserves.

Colonel McManus serves as the Deputy Director of Senior Policy Board Advisor Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff G1,Washington, D.C.

Colonel McManus commissioned in 1992 via ROTC, has now served 31 years, a career-spanning 20 different assignments, including a combat tour to Iraq.

Colonel McManus has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal with one silver and one bronze oak leaf cluster.

The President has also nominated Major General Andrew Gebara to be Lieutenant General in the Air Force and Deputy Chief of Staff at the Force’s Strategic Deterrence Nuclear Integration Headquarters, United States Air Force.

Do you think that not having a confirmed officer appointed to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration is not hurting our military readiness?

Of course, it is.

Major General Gebara would be responsible to the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff at the Air Force for Nuclear Deterrence Operations.

He would provide direction guidance, integration and advocacy regarding the nuclear deterrence mission of the United States Air Force and engage with joint and interagency partners for nuclear enterprise solution only if Senator Tuberville would allow him to take up this position.

And finally, I want to talk to you and read to you the background of Major General Robert M. Collins, who is nominated to be Lieutenant General of the United States Army and Military Deputy Director Army Acquisition Corps Office of the Assistant Secretary for Army of Acquisition Logistics and Technology.

If confirmed, General Collins will be the Senior Military Adviser on Army Acquisition matters.

This is at a time of critical modernization by the Army and I know very well the future vertical lift program. It is critical that we have a capable officer in this position.

He is currently serving as Deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management. He graduated in 1992, from Shippensburg University ROTC program, has now served 31 years in uniform spanning 24 different assignments.

We need this officer in this job in this position.

These are just a handful of individuals I'm reading today.

In which one of these positions does my colleague from Alabama think military readiness is not being affected being left unfilled?

All I can say is Senator Tuberville, please reconsider.

You are indeed putting our national security, our military readiness in jeopardy by continuing this hold.

And with that, I yield.