Christine Wormuth became the first woman to be confirmed as Army secretary by the U.S. Senate—until the upper chamber rescinded her confirmation without explanation moments later.
The Pentagon nominee celebrated her historic appointment on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, “I am so honored to be confirmed as Secretary of the Army!” Wormuth tweeted. “Serving in this role is a tremendous privilege and responsibility!”
Responding to her post, the sergeant major of the U.S. Army, Michael Grinston, wrote: “Proud to be part of YOUR Squad, ma’am.”
But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) poured cold water on the nomination hours later, asking the upper chamber to rescind Wormuth’s confirmation without offering an explanation.
Speaking on the Senate floor moments before the end of the day’s session, Sen. Schumer said: “As in executive session, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate viviate the previous action on executive calendar 135.”
The White House announced its plan to nominate Wormuth in April, along with a raft of other national security and law enforcement appointments.
“Christine is a true patriot with a dedicated career in service to America and our nation’s security,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement reported by the Associated Press at the time. “I have no doubt that if confirmed she will lead our soldiers and represent their families with honor and integrity as the secretary of the Army.”
Under President Barack Obama, Wormuth served as under secretary of defense for policy, advising defense secretaries on foreign policy and national security. She was previously a homeland defense and civil support deputy assistant secretary.
She was also on the National Security Council as a defense policy director and worked as a civil servant in the defense secretary’s office for around seven years at the start of her career. Wormuth is currently listed as the director of RAND Corporation’s International Security and Defense Policy Center.
Defense News reported on Wednesday that Wormuth’s confirmation hearing had passed without much controversy although a Republican senator, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, said he was willing to block her confirmation over one officer’s pay problems.
If she is confirmed as Army secretary, Wormuth will be one of the most powerful defense officials in the country, reflecting the Biden administration’s aim to appoint more women to the top posts of a defense establishment typically dominated by men.