In an attempt to confirm some of the most senior commanders whose promotions have been held by a Republican senator’s blockage, the majority of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday supported U.S. Air Force head General Charles Q. Brown for the position of top military official in the country.
By a vote of 83 to 11, the Senate approved President Joe Biden’s nomination of Brown to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In a time of escalating tension with China, Brown, a veteran fighter pilot, brings to the role experience in command in the Pacific.
After Colin Powell twenty years ago, he will be just the second Black officer to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, utilized a procedural trick to get around Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville’s roadblock, allowing the Senate to move on with votes on Brown and two other high-ranking military officials.
To protest a Defense Department policy adopted last year that offers paid leave and reimburses costs for military members who travel to seek an abortion, Tuberville started blocking nominations for senior Pentagon positions in March.
The suspension of hundreds of military promotions by Tuberville, according to Brown and other military authorities, could have a significant effect on the entire armed services, endangering the security of the country and the soldiers and their families.
Brown was commended on his confirmation by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who also thanked Schumer for bringing up the vote and reprimanded Tuberville for his resistance. Austin stated in a statement that “it is well past time to confirm the over 300 other military nominees.”
Following his selection of Austin as the nation’s first Black secretary of defense, the top civilian job at the Pentagon, Biden announced his nomination of Brown in May.
With Brown’s confirmation, Black Americans will now hold the top two Pentagon posts for the first time, marking a significant achievement for a company that, despite being diverse in its lower ranks, is predominantly white and male at the top.
Additionally, Schumer paved the way for Senate votes on Biden’s nominations of Generals Randy George and Eric Smith as the Army and Marine Corps chiefs of staff, respectively.
Numerous other military promotions that are still being delayed by Tuberville’s action were not addressed in Schumer’s procedural move.
Military promotions typically go through without issue with the Senate. Tuberville’s hold can significantly slow the process but cannot stop the Democratic-majority Senate from voting on any promotion.