Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall criticized Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) on Saturday over his monthslong hold on key military promotions.
“Sen. Tuberville has no experience in the military. This is his first time I think in public service, and I don’t think he appreciates how much of an impact this is having and how negative an impact it is for the military,” Kendall told CNN.
Tuberville has blocked roughly 300 military promotions for six months to protest the Department of Defense’s policy to reimburse military service members who are forced to travel out of state to receive abortion care.
The Alabama senator claims his decision is not hurting the military, but Kendall says otherwise.
“Every year we move about a third of our officers to new assignments including our general officers,” Kendall explained. “Every year a number of people retire and they leave positions vacant that need to be filled by new people. So by not allowing people to move forward through the promotion process we’re essentially stopping all of that. We have people all over the country who cannot move to their new organization. It’s having a big impact on their families.”
“It’s very disruptive, it’s very debilitating. It basically is like throwing a big monkey wrench into the works of the Department of Defense,” Kendall added.
Kendall’s comments came days after Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro accused Tuberville of “aiding and abetting communists” and “autocratic regimes” with his military promotions block.
Despite the criticism, Tuberville is not backing down. He told reporters this week, “I’m not changing my mind“.