FOX NEWS OP-ED: Sen. Kelly Illustrates Impacts of Sen. Tuberville’s “Unconscionable” Military Promotion Blockade

Today, Arizona Senator and 25-year Navy Veteran Mark Kelly published an opinion column in Fox News illustrating how Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-AL) reckless and unprecedented blockade of the promotions of hundreds of high-ranking military personnel is punishing military families and damaging our national security.  

In the op-ed, Sen. Kelly laid out the personal consequences of Tuberville’s actions and explained how the blockade is hamstringing our military leadership. 

Click here to read the full op-ed. See key excerpts below: 

On the sacrifices military families make: 

As a 25-year Navy veteran, I didn’t choose where I was stationed until I was 47 years old and retired from the Navy and left NASA. Every young service member understands that when they sign up, but that doesn’t make it easy. And it’s especially challenging if you get married and start a family. Every couple of years, your spouse has to find a new job in a new community, sometimes in a foreign country. Your kids have to acclimate to a new school. It’s tough under the best of circumstances and Tuberville’s actions have turned it into a nightmare.   

On the national security implications of Tuberville’s blockade: 

For six months, he’s been blocking the promotion of every general and flag officer in the U.S. military. That’s 301 military positions and counting. Let that sink in. That means everyone who is or is supposed to become a general or admiral has been prevented from being promoted and transferring to their next assignment. This leaves the most critical positions vacant or filled by acting personnel doing multiple jobs at once without the necessary experience and authority. It has also impacted thousands of officers beneath them who are prevented from advancing. That hamstrings our military – and undermines our readiness to the benefit of our adversaries.   

On service members and their families receiving the health care they need: 

After the Supreme Court reversed the right of Americans to choose an abortion, the Pentagon created a policy that reimburses service members if they have to travel to access reproductive health care services, including abortion, but also in some cases when IVF services are not available where they’re stationed. I support this policy because members don’t get to choose where they live and that shouldn’t prevent them from accessing the health care they need. Tuberville doesn’t and that’s his call. But the tactics he is using are unconscionable and dangerous. 

On the personal impacts of Tuberville’s blockade:  

I’ve heard of a family unable to sell a house and paying out of pocket for housing in two cities because mom or dad can’t take their next job. […] 

I know one four-star officer who opted to retire following his wife’s long battle with cancer so that they could spend more time together. With retirement orders in hand, they left their assigned housing and moved to their retirement home in another state. However, with no confirmed replacement, his wife lives alone in their retirement home while the officer remains on duty.   

And I’ve heard that the retirement rate of Wing Commanders in the Air Force has spiked because they would rather leave the Air Force than have their families caught in the mess that Senator Tuberville has created.