The Senate run by McConnell needs Pentagon personnel to approve. However, Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) has rightly pointed out that most of Biden’s nominees, including the current Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, have close ties to the defense industry. This revolving door of money and connections creates a conflict of interest for these retired military officers.
Advice and consent by the Senate for executive office positions are enshrined in the Constitution. When used correctly, this provides oversight to the administration. The Senate can accurately guide policy to be enacted by the elected president when it affirms the proper qualifications of certain employees of the American people. Taxpayers should have multiple checks and balances on executive authority. This role must be appropriately used and not abused.
As of the fourth week of July 2021, six appointees to the Pentagon have been confirmed by Senate. It weakens our national defense. But we need nominees who are qualified to do the work. However, the Biden Administration has a pattern of neglecting the right men and women to defend our nation. The trend that has emerged indicates that securing the homeland and protecting American interests abroad is not the top priority.
There are over 20 essential leadership positions open. President Joe Biden has failed to nominate the leaders we need, such as the Navy and Air Force secretaries. The Senate can not confirm empty chairs.
The sluggish pace falls short of even the Trump administration’s early staffing woes, which Democrats roundly criticized at the time. A Washington Free Beacon analysis found that by the end of July 2017, the Trump administration and Republican-controlled Senate confirmed more senior political appointees to the Pentagon than the Biden administration. Several others received confirmation in the following months.
Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe (OK) is the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee. He is imploring Biden and his staff and Democrat colleagues to put forward qualified military personnel. He noted in an interview with the Free Beacon, “It’s integral to have Senate-confirmed leadership at the Pentagon, no matter who is the president, it’s in the best interest of our national security. I’d like to see Sen. Schumer bring more of these nominees to the floor for a vote sooner rather than later, and I welcome additional nominees from President Biden, including for critical service assistant secretary positions.”
Other vacant positions include the assistant secretary for weapons and vehicle acquisition, legislative affairs, and military readiness.
Defense budgets will lag the current needs of the military if these positions remain open.
Russia and China do not face the same kind of politicization of the military that the USA does. It is a significant disadvantage when there is confusion at the top. A president with no clear plan at best is a failure. Lacking a coherent strategy, Joe Biden creates messages of compromise and threat sends mixed signals. That is the worst way to conduct foreign policy.
Republican Rep. Mike Rogers (AL), the House Armed Services Committee ranking member, said that the lack of leaders makes it “impossible” for the USA to keep up with foreign adversaries. China and Russia are continually developing nuclear missiles, submarines, and a space arsenal. He went on discussing the problems with the Air and Space Force, inaugurated under President Donald Trump, “This administration hasn’t even bothered to nominate a person for the assistant secretary position, much less work to get them through a Senate controlled by the president’s party. Every day we wait is another day China and Russia have to overtake us in space.”
Also, the National Defense Strategy is scheduled to be released by the Biden Administration in 2022. This document is required to be developed and published under the military authorization bills. If the Pentagon cannot staff the positions needed to complete the plan, our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines will be cast adrift.
As recounted by Thomas Spoehr, Heritage Foundation’s Director for the Center for National Defense, “This administration has to produce a new national defense strategy, and the key people who would do that have not had a vote. That constrains the administration in making changes and implementing policy. They have no enthusiasm or interest in talking about national defense.”