Duckworth: Civilian-led Military Is Important

WASHINGTON — Combat veteran and House Armed Services Committee member Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) on Dec. 8 voted against a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through April because it includes a provision that she says “threatens to erode the bedrock principle of a civilian-led military.”

Rep. Tammy Duckworth

Retired four-star Marine Gen. James Mattis has been nominated by President-elect Donald Trump as secretary of defense, but needs Congress to pass a waiver to a law that requires defense secretaries to have been out of uniform for at least seven years. Marris retired three years ago. Republicans attached a rider to the government funding bill that provides that waiver.

The bill passed 326 to 96, and moves to the Senate.

“Despite some of our policy disagreements, I believe Gen. Mattis’ qualifications and experience merit thoughtful consideration, but this dangerous procedural gamesmanship only serves to undermine his legitimacy leading our Armed Forces,” said Duckworth, who served in the Iraq War and has just been elected to the Senate. “The American people deserve a transparent and thorough debate on the merits of eroding civilian leadership of the strongest military this world has ever known.