WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement:

“To keep our democracy healthy, the U.S. military has avoided partisanship, and to keep our military strong, elected officials should avoid partisan interference with the military’s merit-based promotion system.

“The military defends our nation and is not aligned with a political party.  There are laws and traditions to prevent individuals from polarizing the U.S. Armed Forces to the detriment and demoralization of all.

“The promotion process is about individuals, but it also sends a signal to our troops about what kind of soldiers get promoted.  Professionalism, character, skill, and integrity must be paramount, not partisanship.

“Civilian control of the military is a bedrock principle of our government.  Civilian defense leaders, including the Secretary of Defense, have a duty to shield uniformed military personnel from undue partisan pressures.

“It has been publicly reported that White House officials may now be seeking to interfere with the promotion board results of two soldiers for political reasons. 

“I do not know the results of that promotion board, nor should I.  The Army decides these cases on the merits, and I would hope the White House does as well. ”