The Senate has confirmed Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. as the nation's top military officer, marking the first Pentagon confirmation since Sen. Tommy Tuberville initiated a blockade on nominees over a Defense Department abortion policy.
Senate Confirms First Military Nominee Amid Tommy Tuberville's Blockade
Senate Confirms First Military Nominee Amid Blockade by Tommy Tuberville
The Senate has confirmed Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. as the nation's top military officer, marking the first Pentagon confirmation since Sen. Tommy Tuberville initiated a blockade on nominees in protest of a Defense Department abortion policy.
Brown's confirmation as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was approved with an 83-11 vote. He will be succeeding Army Gen. Mark Milley, whose term comes to an end next month.
This confirmation vote comes after President Joe Biden nominated Brown four months ago and amidst ongoing tensions arising from Tuberville's months-long blockade on numerous military promotions. Tuberville's objection is rooted in opposition to a Defense Department policy that offers time off and reimbursements for service members and their families who need to travel out-of-state for abortions.
While Democrats and the White House have criticized Tuberville's tactic as a threat to military readiness, Tuberville and some Republicans have countered by suggesting that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer could call each nominee up for individual votes, similar to what happened with Brown.
Reportedly, Schumer expedited the vote on Brown before Tuberville could take a similar action with a different military nominee.
Tuberville expressed his satisfaction with Schumer's move, stating, "It's about time. I've been calling for that for months." He sees it as a personal victory.
Schumer, in calling the vote, accused Tuberville of acting as a "gatekeeper" for military confirmations and highlighted the harm it has caused to the military and their families.
Gen. Brown will be the first chairman from the Air Force since 2005 when Gen. Richard B. Myers, a nominee of President Bill Clinton, concluded his tenure.
Previously, Brown served as the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, a position he assumed in 2020 after the Republican-controlled Senate's groundbreaking confirmation vote. This made him the first African American officer to lead one of the nation's military services.
President Biden has praised Brown's qualifications as an experienced pilot with over 3,000 flying hours, including 130 hours in combat. He referred to the newly confirmed chairman as a "warrior" and an "unflappable and highly effective leader."
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com.