Lisa Franchetti Becomes First Woman to Lead US Navy

The US Senate on Thursday approved Admiral Lisa Franchetti‘s nomination to lead the Navy, making her the first woman to hold the position and to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Franchetti — who was confirmed by a vote of 95-1 — has been performing the job in an acting capacity since mid-August due to a single Republican senator’s opposition to Pentagon abortion access policy.

She has served on a series of surface vessels, commanding a guided missile destroyer, a destroyer squadron, and two carrier strike groups.

Franchetti was deputy commander of US naval forces in Europe and as well as in Africa, and deputy chief of naval operations for warfighting development. She became vice chief of naval operations — the service’s number two position — in September 2022.

Lawmakers usually approve military nominations quickly through unanimous consent, but Senator Tommy Tuberville has blocked that option for months, leaving the Senate with the time-consuming option of holding votes on individual nominees.

Tuberville — a Republican from Alabama — has been stalling the nominations to protest Pentagon policies allowing service members seeking abortions to receive travel allowances and take administrative absences.

The Defense Department issued the policies earlier this year in response to the 2022 Supreme Court decision striking down the nationwide right to abortion.

The Pentagon said Monday that 378 nominees for general and flag officer positions remained in limbo, but the deadlock could be broken by a resolution sponsored by Democratic Senator Jack Reed that was introduced the following day.

It would allow military nominations to be considered en masse during the 118th Congress — which lasts through the end of next year — with the exception of officers selected to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff or as the heads of combatant commands.

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