Tuberville Presses Secretary Austin, Defense Officials About Low Military Recruiting, Ukraine Strategy  

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville questioned U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Under Secretary of Defense Michael McCord, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Charles Q. Brown, JR., USAF during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. Senator Tuberville asked about the Department of Defense’s strategy in Ukraine and how to fix the military’s recruiting crisis.

Excerpts from Senator Tuberville’s remarks can be found below, and his full remarks can be found on YouTube or Rumble.

SEN. TUBERVILLE: “Good morning, gentlemen. How are y’all?

Secretary Austin, glad to have you back. You look like you are in good playing shape. I know you’ve had a tough couple of months, but we are glad you’re back.”


SEN. TUBERVILLE: “I also want to remind you [that] we are building munitions in our country, and in Alabama. We do build quite a few boats, submarines, missiles, and those things. We spend a lot of money out of the country on munitions, because our industrial bases are not near what it used to be.

General, can Ukraine win?” 

AUSTIN: “Yes. Yes.”

SEN. TUBERVILLE: “What does that look like?”

AUSTIN: “What we’ve said all along is that we want to see Ukraine remain a sovereign, independent, and democratic state that has the ability to defend its sovereign territory and deter aggression. That’s been our aim from the very beginning, and that remains our aim.

But, yes, they can be successful.”


TUBERVILLE: “General Brown, just a quick question. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to bases all over the world since I have had this job for [three years]. 

Our morale is not very good. Our recruiting is really dropping. What are you doing to help solve that problem?

We need a strong military. A lot of them tell me, they say basically, ‘Coach, listen. We are taking all these classes that [have] nothing to do with killing our adversary. It’s about getting along with each other.’

I understand part of that, but we also need a killing machine. What is your answer to that?”

BROWN: “Well, as I said in my opening statement, honing our war fighting skills has primacy in all that we do. And part of building that joint, war-fighting team is being able to build a team – as I know you’re fully aware of that based on your background.

The work that we do with each one of our service members, to bring them [in] and give them all the opportunity to reach their full potential, to make this the most lethal, combat-credible force in the world.”

SEN. TUBERVILLE: “How do we stop people from getting out of the military?”

BROWN: “Well, Senator, what I will tell you – and I can give you the numbers – but retention right now, across all the service branches, is really good.”

SEN. TUBERVILLE: “I’d love to see that.”

BROWN: “Our recruiting is also trending up. In the course of the past several weeks I have sat down with recruiters from all the various services and went to military entrance processing station here to talk to them about their process as well. […] It’s a system, and there are things we can do better, and I gave them some feedback while I was there.

And so, recruiting is on the up […] And the thing I’d like to close on is – we need to talk about the value of service. [We need to talk about] what it is to wear the uniform, and the opportunity, whether you spend four years or four decades, it is really important. Serving in our military, or serving at all within our nation, and the impact it can have. Those are things that we can continue to do.”

SEN. TUBERVILLE: “I totally agree with you, but our military is about people. It’s not really about machines and all those things. It’s about people. 

Thank you.”

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.