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McCain Places Hold on Pentagon No. 2 Nomination


U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., announced Tuesday he would place a hold on the President Obama's nominations for the deputy defense secretary and the defense under secretary for policy.

McCain told The Hill that Robert Work, the deputy defense secretary nominee, on Tuesday after Work's confirmation hearing that the former Navy under secretary was "derelict in his duties" for not reading a Government Accountability Office's report on the Littoral Combat Ship.

Work said during the hearing that the Pentagon's proposal to drop LCS production from 52 to 32 was "very normal with Navy ship building." In response, McCain said he was "stunned" Work had not read the GAO report that cited cost overruns and confusion over the LCS mission.

The Arizona senator placed a symbolic hold on Work and Christine Wormuth, the defense under secretary for policy nominee, in what is more or less a symbolic move since the nominees no longer need to be confirmed by the Senate Armed Services Committee before the entire Senate votes on the nomination.

McCain told The Hill that his hold is also partially a symbolic protest to the Senate rule changes by Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., that are often referred to as the "nuclear option."

"They can nominate any bozo they want, the way it is now. I mean, look at the ambassador nominees. People who have never been in the country are clueless who are now going to be made ambassadors," McCain told Kristina Wong of The Hill.

Wormuth didn't avoid McCain's wrath during Tuesday's confirmation hearing. He didn't accept Wormuth's answer that Al Qaeda is a persistent threat when he asked if the threat was receding or growing.

McCain referenced a map presented during the hearing that showed the expansion of Al Qaeda influence in Africa. Eventually, Wormuth said elements of Al Qaeda are growing.

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