Press Releases

With Honor Action’s Statement on the Current Military Holds

Confirming military assignments and promotions has long been one of the most bipartisan duties of the Senate. For months, however, a single U.S. senator has taken the unprecedented political step of holding up all senior military promotions — more than 200 to date and counting — that Congress must approve.

This senator has taken this action in order to block a Department of Defense policy on a polarizing domestic political issue. Regardless of the substance of the Pentagon’s policy that prompted this situation, the blockage of promotions in such a manner is damaging our national security in at least three important and immediate ways.

First, the blockage delays the confirmation of the Pentagon’s top leaders at a dangerous moment in time for our country, with rising tensions with China, a conflict in Ukraine against a nuclear power, and rapid advancements in artificial intelligence. For the first time in more than 150 years the United States Marine Corps is operating without a congressionally confirmed leader. If this impasse is not resolved by the fall, we may also see for the first time since the creation of the position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff where the position is not filled.

Second, this blockage damages what the Pentagon refers to as the “readiness” of our all-volunteer force. Readiness has many factors. The challenges service members and their families face as units try to stabilize with new personnel are made more difficult with command uncertainty. Retention of talented service members may decline as officers consider other career options. Recruiting, which is already at an alarmingly low level, may be made more difficult as this episode further polarizes and erodes public trust in our military.

Third, the blockage politicizes the military, making it all the more difficult to do the serious bipartisan work the country needs. Debates about domestic policies should be held in the United States Congress and resolved through regular order. Much of our work at With Honor Action is aimed at making a more functional legislature with the ability to have these difficult conversations, by helping to elect and support principled veterans.

For these reasons, With Honor Action condemns this unprecedented political maneuver, calls for the immediate lifting of holds on all military promotions, and calls for a bipartisan agreement on congressional rules to prohibit such blockages in the future.