Letters to the Editor

Letter: My statement on military holds

Regarding the ADN’s recent story on the National Defense Authorization Act and Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s holds on military promotions and confirmations, I wanted Alaskans to be able to read the full statement I provided the Anchorage Daily News, which was not published in full.

“If Sen. Schumer truly believed these holds were a threat to military readiness, he would sit down with Sen. Tuberville and the Secretary of Defense to find compromise. I’ve been encouraging this. In the meantime, Schumer could have bypassed these holds by filing cloture on any of them — including the Marine Corps Commandant nominee — months ago. This is not uncommon — Senator Schumer bypassed one of my holds on an EPA official last week who the Senate ended up confirming the same week.

“The real threats to readiness are the budget cuts President Biden has proposed to the military three years in a row. The current Biden budget shrinks the Army, the Navy, and the Marine Corps. Next year, Biden’s defense budget will take defense spending levels below three percent of GDP — a level that happened only a very few times in the last 70 years.

“Despite what many stories in the media are claiming, the Republican House Majority is not inserting culture and social issues into the military or the NDAA, instead they are pushing back against the Biden administration’s unprecedented politicization of our Armed Forces.

“I’ve been a U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer for almost 30 years and I’ve never witnessed a time where there has been so much pressure from Pentagon civilian leaders to mandate focusing on issues that have nothing to do with warfighting and lethality. For example, the Secretary of the Navy has ignored Congress and prioritized his climate- action plan over his 30-year shipbuilding plan. The Undersecretary of Defense for Policy — the number three official in charge at the Pentagon — stated that one of his top priorities was to stamp out “systemic racism” in the ranks, despite having no data to support such a claim and having never served in the ranks himself. The U.S. military, though not perfect, is one of the most exemplary civil rights organizations in American history. The Department of Defense is also now funding expensive transgender surgeries for active-duty troops, who then can’t deploy, when the DOD doesn’t have enough funding for suicide prevention and mental health priorities, which is particularly acute in Alaska. None of these policies has anything to do with lethality and warfighting. In my view, they undermine it. They are just a few examples of the unprecedented politicization of our armed forces and that’s why both Republicans AND Democrats are fighting against them in NDAA negotiations.”

The issue of national security has never been more important in the world we live in. It’s also an issue I know Alaskans are very interested in and have asked me to focus on.

— U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska


Washington, D.C.

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Dan Sullivan