Hill Votes Against Waiving Grace Period for General Austin
WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Rep. French Hill (AR-02) released the following statement after voting against a waiver to exempt Retired General Lloyd J. Austin from the seven-year waiting period to serve as Secretary of Defense:
“I voted against waiving the required seven-year grace period between military service and appointment required under the National Security Act of 1947 as amended in 2008. Since World War II, Congress has provided only two such waivers: President Truman’s nomination of General George Marshall in 1950 and President Trump’s nomination of General James Mattis in 2017.
“Accompanying the congressional authority to nominate General Marshall in 1950, Congress made clear its intent that that approval should not be construed as approval for continuing appointments of the same nature – going so far as to say that 'no additional appointments . . . shall be approved.'
“While I supported a waiver for General Mattis, the waiver exemption was never intended for repeated use, and granting another waiver merely four years after the second in history, in my view, sets us on a path to undermining civilian control of the United States military, something that has always been a hallmark of the American democracy.“I am grateful to General Austin for his years of service and dedication to our country. Should he be confirmed to serve as our Secretary of Defense, I would advocate for his success and work with him and the Department of Defense to strengthen our national security and protect the men and women serving our country.”