WASHINGTON – In response to oversight from U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Under Secretary of the Navy Erik Raven sent a letter that confirmed the Navy’s controversial digital ambassador program has been discontinued. You can read the letter here.
At an April 18, 2023 Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) hearing, Coach Tuberville questioned Admiral Michael Gilday, then-Chief of Naval Operations, on the Navy’s unprecedented recruitment failures. The hearing came shortly after a viral video, promoted by the Navy’s official social media pages, featured a self-identified nonbinary sailor claiming the highlight of their deployment on a $13 billion dollar warship was reading a poem. Admiral Gilday effusively defended the video and praised the sailor.
On May 3, Senator Tuberville and a group of Republican colleagues sent a letter to Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro demanding to know why the Navy is utilizing TikTok for any purpose. The platform is known to pose serious national security threats due to its links to the Chinese Communist Party.
On May 4, 2023, Coach Tuberville sent a letter to Admiral Michael M. Gilday, chief of naval operations, demanding the names of the officers responsible for funding and promoting drag queen performances aboard naval vessels, including during the Trump Administration’s ban on transgender servicemembers. One of the alleged performers was appointed as the ‘digital ambassador’ for the Navy’s recruiting efforts, posting videos to the Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok.
Senator Tuberville has repeatedly argued that the U.S. military is too focused on political and cultural issues rather than readiness and lethality. Senator Tuberville believes those misplaced priorities have contributed to the military’s unprecedented recruitment shortfall.
While Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro makes irresponsible and fact-free claims about Coach Tuberville, the Navy is failing to meet the legally-mandated shipbuilding goals and is on track to miss its recruiting goals by an unprecedented 26 percent.
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.