WASHINGTON, DC – Just days after President Trump’s controversial nominee, retired Brigadier General Anthony J. Tata, who President Trump wanted to install as the third highest civilian at the U.S. Department of Defense -- Undersecretary of Defense for Policy – had his public confirmation hearing cancelled at the last minute due to bipartisan concerns, President Trump has now appointed General Tata to the position of Deputy Undersecretary of Policy, where he will serve in an “Acting” capacity.

Tata will take on the position of Acting Deputy Undersecretary for Policy, a role that Dr. James H. Anderson was confirmed for less than two months ago, on June 8.  Apparently, Dr. Anderson will continue to serve as the Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, position that has been vacant since John Rood resigned at President Trump’s request in February. 

In the midst of this chaotic and highly controversial move by President Trump, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement:

“If President Trump’s goal is to hollow out, politicize, and undermine the Pentagon the way he has the State Department and Intelligence Community, then mission accomplished.  This is an offensive, destabilizing move and General Tata should not be appointed to a Senate-confirmed position.

“This method of appointment is an insult to our troops, professionals at the Pentagon, the Senate, and the American people.  Clearly, President Trump wants people who will swear allegiance to him over the Constitution.  His hand-picked candidate for this critical position was on the verge of potentially being rejected on the merits.  This is a flagrant end run around the confirmation process.  The situation is symptomatic of a President who is unraveling and continues to lash out.

“It’s hard to see how General Tata can do an effective job given the serious questions raised by both parties during a closed Executive Session of the Armed Services Committee last week, and General Tata’s many incorrect and divisive public commentary.  Until the issues raised by Senators of both parties can be resolved, General Tata should not be serving in a position in the Defense Department.

“The American people must not grow numb to the dizzying dysfunction of this Administration and the Senate should not allow moves like this to go unchecked.

“Donald Trump’s personal insecurity is making America less secure and he only seems to want people at the Pentagon who are accountable to him and not Congress or the American people.

“The Pentagon faces complex and daunting challenges and needs stability.  Instead, President Trump is making it more chaotic and less effective.  For the good of our country and the integrity of the Pentagon, I urge lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to condemn this unjust appointment and urge the White House to reconsider it and remove General Tata from this post without delay.

“We need strong, capable civilian leaders at the Pentagon who are qualified, lead with integrity, and will defend America and advance the nation’s interests.  Every President deserves to have leaders who can carry out their vision.  But President Trump’s attempt to polarize the Pentagon has gone overboard and represents a real threat to America’s long-term security.”