Neil W. McCabe, the national political editor of The Star News Network, interviewed Robby Stephany-Saunders, a former senior national security Senate staffer, about how senators have the power to block or delay promotions for military officers facilitating the involuntary separations of unvaccinated military personnel.
Stephany-Saunders said the Senate confirms roughly 50,000 promotions per year and these promotions are nearly always approved by unanimous consent in batches.
However, if just one senator objects to the batch, he could force a roll call vote and otherwise disrupt a process that is virtually never contested, she said. If a senator did take these steps, it would be a shock and get the attention of the Pentagon.
The last time this power was exercised in a major was the effort by Senate Democrats to punish officers, who attended the 1991 Tailhook Association convention, including then-Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Frank Kelso.
McCabe: As many as 400 unvaccinated army national guardsmen face involuntary separation from the service they love now that big army’s June 30th deadline has passed.
While the focus is on how governors handle this crisis, there is a unique tool available to US Senators willing to support these guardsmen.
Stephany-Saunders: The constitution requires that these promotions be sent from the department of defense to the senate armed services committee, and the committee has to take action to report out these nominees and then report them to the full senate,
McCabe: Robby Stephany-Saunders, a former senior national security senate staffer, told The Star News Network Senators to confirm military promotions, although it is a power rarely put to a roll call vote. Rather, it is typically done by unanimous consent.
Stephany-Saunders: Unless one senator objects, then these nominations are rare. And commissions will move forward, and they will be fully confirmed to the position.
McCabe: In 1994, senate democrats, led by California’s Barbara Boxer tried and failed to block the retiring chief of naval operations’ permanent promotion to full admiral and four stars. Boxer wanted to punish the admiral for the reported sexual misconduct at the Tailhook Association convention he attended three years earlier.
(News clip plays)
Old stereotypes about sex craze sailors have come back to haunt the navy. Admiral Kelso chose to attend the Tailhook convention despite its raunchy reputation. His appearance left the impression of official condonation.
McCabe: Stephany-Saunders, a naval war college student speaking in a personal capacity, said, given the roughly 500 officer promotions confirmed by the Senate every year, it would send shockwaves through the military if the promotions of officers facilitating these involuntary separations of unvaccinated personnel were delayed or blocked.
Stephany-Saunders: If one senator were to start exercising their interest here in placing these holds, I think it would definitely create a shock and would start to cause, I think, some heads to turn at the pentagon.
McCabe: Reporting for The Star News Network, Neil W. McCabe, Washington.