January 21, 2021

Van Hollen Statement on Opposition to Waiving U.S. Law for Defense Nomination

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) released the following statement regarding his vote in opposition to waiving the U.S. law that prevents retired military officers from serving as Secretary of Defense less than seven years after their relief from active duty.

β€œIn order to maintain civilian control of our military, U.S. law requires a cooling-off period prior to allowing a recently retired officer to serve as the Secretary of Defense. I have long supported this cooling-off period, and have voted previously to uphold it. While I believe Lloyd Austin is thoroughly qualified to serve as our Secretary of Defense – and I intend to support his confirmation – the importance of civilian leadership at the Department of Defense is greater than any individual nominee. That is why I voted today in opposition to waiving this law.”