OAN’s Roy Francis
10:47 AM – Friday, August 4, 2023
The Army’s highest ranked officer retired on Friday morning, leaving the post vacant for the foreseeable future.
General James McConville left his Army Chief of Staff post on Friday after 40 years of service in the United States Army. He had begun his service as an aviator and commanded in Iraq and in Afghanistan. He had also previously served as Commanding General of the 101st Airborne. He went on to hold several staff positions which included Vice Chief of Staff for the Army.
In 2019, he was promoted to Army Chief of Staff and began his push to revamp the Army’s technology. He focused his efforts on six priorities which included long-range artillery, next-generation combat vehicles, advanced rotorcraft, digital networks, air and missile defense and finally soldier lethality.
“We find ourselves once again facing threats of great-power competition and the specter of large-scale conflict,” he said in 2019. “And we have the opportunity to ensure that our Army remains the most dominant land force in the world for the next four decades, but we have to adapt.”
According to the Army Times, most of the ventures that he had directed his efforts towards are slated to be operational for the Army by the 2030s.
Although he had worked on improving the technologies and equipment of the Army, his branch struggled with recruiting new personnel. During his tenure as the Army’s top officer, the branch’s strength was reduced to about 450,000 soldiers.
In his “Final Message to the Army Team” McConville said that “it has been an honor” to serve his role, and that he had served “in the company of heroes every single day.”
However, now that he has stepped down, his post will remain vacant due to the hold on the confirmation of military officers by Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.).
Tuberville has been withholding the confirmation of high-ranking military officers due to the Pentagon’s recent post-Dobbs abortion policy. The new policy requires the Department of Defense to cover the travel costs for service members that need to travel out of state to receive an abortion, if the states they are stationed in do not allow the procedure.
General Randy George, who was nominated by President Joe Biden, will be taking over as acting Army Chief of Staff until the blockade by the senator is over and the Senate can move on with the confirmation. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin slammed the senator on Friday during the changeover ceremony. He said that the blockade by the senator “undermines our military readiness.”
“The failure to confirm our superbly qualified senior uniformed leaders undermines our military readiness,” Austin said. “It undermines our retention of some of our very best officers. And it is upending the lives of far too many of their spouses, children and loved ones.”
As of Friday, 301 officers have seen their promotions withheld by Tuberville’s hold. Those affected range from the nominees to lead the Army, Navy and Marines, as well as the next chair of the Joint Chiefs, and command changes for the 5th and 7th fleets, which run naval operation in the Middle East and Pacific, and the next leaders of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Air Force’s Air Combat Command.
“Let me be clear,” Austin said at the ceremony. “In our dangerous world, the security of the United States demands orderly and prompt transitions of our confirmed military leaders.”
Tuberville has remained steadfast in his protest as long as the Pentagon maintains the “illegal” policy that it has.
For the first time in United States history, two seats on the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff are now filled by interim officers due to the hold by the Alabama Senator, which is now in its eighth month.
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