A group of veterans who serve as national security experts with the Heritage Foundation are lending their support to U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) in his ongoing battle with the Department of Defense (DOD) over its abortion policy. 

The Heritage Foundation is an influential conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C.

The DOD policy offers service members up to three weeks of leave and transportation allowances to travel to get an abortion in states where it’s legal.

Tuberville, a Senate Armed Services Committee member, has held President Joe Biden’s DOD nominations since the policy was implemented without congressional approval. His decision slows Biden’s efforts to fill DOD positions without a formal Senate vote.

Tuberville clarified earlier this year that his hold did not stop all nominees from being confirmed but prevented the Senate from confirming them in large swaths instead of individually.

Nevertheless, the move has earned Tuberville considerable backlash from Democrats and neoconservatives, who suggest the senator is hindering the federal government’s ability to provide for national security. 

Last week, five Senators chose to side with Democrats to try and break the promotion hold.

Heritage’s Center for National Defense director Robert Greenway, senior policy analyst Wilson Beaver, senior counselor to the president James Jay Carafano and senior research fellows JV Venable and Dakota Wood signed a letter supporting Tuberville’s hold.

“We stand united in our support of Sen. Tuberville’s opposition to the Department of Defense’s illegal and immoral policies that attempt to bypass U.S. law and which further erode America’s trust in the capability of the U.S. armed forces to fulfill its mission,” the policy professionals wrote. “... It is essential those who take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States comply with our laws. Failure to do so undermines public trust and confidence and the chain of command.”

The letter’s authors also spoke to widespread claims that Tuberville’s holds impede national security.

“Claims that the pending appointments of senior defense officials leave gaps which impact readiness are misplaced. Sen. Tuberville is only opposing the block advancement of nominations by unanimous consent,” the letter reads. “Our military is fortunate to have fully qualified officers capable of fulfilling the duties of any vacant position in its ranks.”

“Assertions that Sen. Tuberville’s ‘hold’ alone prevents Senate confirmation are incorrect,” it continued. “The Senate majority leader can, and has, invoked cloture and moved select promotions to the floor for a vote. The approval of key service leaders over the past few months is proof of this; when it is actually important enough to have an official in a specific job, the Senate finds a legal, common-sense, and timely remedy. Nothing that Sen. Tuberville is doing prevents this.”

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