‘There will be more’: Army secretary predicts officer retirements amid Tuberville blockade

‘There will be more’: Army secretary predicts officer retirements amid Tuberville blockade

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth warned that high-ranking military officers will leave their posts by the end of the year due to Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s hold on military promotions.

“It has been very problematic,” Wormuth said at POLITICO’s Defense Summit on Tuesday.

She cited as an example a two-star general who, while awaiting confirmation, submitted his retirement papers, citing concerns about how the job has impacted his family.

If the Senate doesn’t resolve the issue by the end of December, “there will be more of those,” Wormuth said.

The officials “have been waiting for months to have some certainty and to go do the jobs,” she said. “I really have deep concerns about what my major lieutenant colonels and colonels are thinking about this.”

Wormuth was not alone in voicing concerns Tuesday. U.S. Northern Command’s Gen. Glen VanHerck said he’s seen service members questioning whether they want to continue to serve because of the lack of predictability caused by the holds.

He cited generals who are unable to move between jobs who have wound up owning two houses and are unable to plan schooling and activities for their children.

“All those things are frustrating to families. People vote as a family, and they vote with their feet sometimes, and that’s something we have to face long-term,” said VanHerck, who has had to delay his retirement while his successor is held up.

VanHerck added that Northern Command, charged with defending the U.S. homeland, is not being hurt on an operational level — yet.

“We’re not seeing a direct impact or a specific impact,” he said. “The longer term impact would be [that] the folks that we would like to stay and continue to be promoted to be senior leaders, they may elect to go elsewhere. We will see some of those impacts.”

Tuberville, a Republican from Alabama, has held up hundreds of military promotions due to his objection to the Pentagon’s abortion travel policy, drawing criticism from both sides of the aisle. But Tuberville has stood his ground, even as the U.S. officials’ concerns about a wider conflict in the Middle East mount.

“I think some of our officers are going to say, ‘No, I don’t know if this is what I want to continue to aspire to. I’m talented, I have energy, I’m going to go work somewhere else and not have to worry about that,” she said.

Joe Gould contributed to this report.

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