These military spouses are fighting one senator's hold on military promotions
Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville's disagreement with a Pentagon policy on abortion is upheaving life plans for hundreds of military families. Now those families are petitioning Senate leaders to intervene on their behalf.
Who are they? Hundreds of military family members have signed a petition delivered to the offices of Senate leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell, as well as Tuberville's office.
What's the big deal? Tuberville's decision has left military positions and families in limbo until a resolution is found.
What are they saying? All Things Considered's Mary Louise Kelly spoke with Tonya Murphy, who lives in northern Virginia with her family and is married to a Navy commander, and also works as a senior manager of advancement at the Travis Manion Foundation, a veteran support organization. This is what Murphy said:
On the impacts on families, and more largely, national security:
Right now, the Marine Corps is without a confirmed commandant, the Army will be without their confirmed service chiefs in the next week, I believe.
And then shortly after that, the Navy's service chief will also be moved to an acting position, not a confirmed position. When we look at those roles, those are the roles that make a lot of very important decisions for each of the branches and then collectively as the Joint Chiefs.
But while we have acting individuals in those roles, they don't have the same authority when it comes to making certain decisions. And so they're not able to utilize the full power and impact of that role. They're kind of cut off at the knees because they are an acting chief of whatever service that they're representing.
And this is not something that we're just seeing nationally — other countries are seeing this and recognizing this. It really puts us at a disadvantage and in a precarious position.
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On the timing of the block and transitions for families:
Oh, my gosh. So it is hard enough to move with a military family. We have done it nine-and-a-half times, because this last move was kind of a little wonky.
And when you're trying to get your kids to their next duty station, get them enrolled in sports, get them involved in the things that they participate within their school, be trying out for a team and joining a club, making the connections that they need in order for a place to feel like home — you're at a disadvantage when you're at a hold, right?
So these families can move ahead of their service members – if they have the funds to do that. If they don't, that's money out of pocket.
In addition, you're talking about spouses who may or may not be in an employment role that they can transfer. If they can transfer it, they don't know when they're going to be able to do that because they don't know when they'll be at their next duty station.
Some spouses cannot transfer their roles, and so they have already resigned their position in anticipation of the move, but are now stuck in limbo, waiting to get to their next duty station and find their next employment opportunity. That's a huge financial hit for a military family.
On what she would say to Tuberville if she could speak to him directly:
I understand that he has this policy disagreement with some over the legislation that the D.O.D. has put out, and there are proper channels in order to address that and to move forward on that. Holding our military members hostage in order to achieve a goal is not the right answer. That is not how you support our troops. Putting them in the current situation, where they do not have confirmed leadership, is not how you show support to our troops. If you're going to support our troops, support our troops. Do not use them as pawns.
So, what now?
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