After Senate Snafu, Christine Wormuth Confirmed as the First Woman to Lead the Army

Nominee to be Secretary of the Army Christine Elizabeth Wormuth.
Nominee to be Secretary of the Army Christine Elizabeth Wormuth takes her mask off at a Senate Armed Services Committee nomination hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Christine Wormuth was once again confirmed as Army secretary Thursday morning after the Senate revoked her confirmation Wednesday night over an apparent procedural snafu that was quickly resolved. She is the first woman to hold the position.

Wormuth's confirmation appeared to wrap up Wednesday night when Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., got unanimous consent to put her in the Army's top civilian position.

But about two hours later, after the Senate had announced the confirmation via Twitter, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., revoked it. It is not clear why Wormuth's confirmation was rescinded for about 10 hours; Schumer's office did not respond to a request for comment.

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The reversal appeared to be due to a procedural snag that was quickly resolved. Wormuth's nomination was noncontroversial, and she breezed through her confirmation hearing with little pushback from Republicans.

Wormuth comes to the job at a critical time for the Army. The force faces potential budget cuts amid military-wide resource constraints. She told lawmakers at her confirmation hearing earlier this month that she didn't "think anyone would be well-served by looking at the Army as just a bit player."

She takes the helm as the service tries to reinvent how it evaluates physical fitness for soldiers. Leaders have struggled to develop the new Army Combat Fitness Test to create a stronger force without damaging recruiting and retention for jobs that aren't physically demanding.

Wormuth said the new test is concerning for how it seemingly puts women at a significant disadvantage.

She also told lawmakers it's time to reevaluate the high demands placed on the National Guard, after a year in which the part-time force has juggled multiple domestic missions and overseas operations. Her concerns echo those of top Army brass, who are concerned the Guard has been stretched too thin.

-- Steve Beynon can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.

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