President-elect Donald Trump's pick to lead the Pentagon won't take over for several more months, but one prominent Senate Republican is telling current Defense Secretary Ash Carter that his work leading the military is all but finished.

On Monday, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., wrote to Carter asking him to "suspend all efforts on the development and implementation of rules and regulations at the Department of Defense that would change long-standing policy, including with regard to military personnel ratings, standards, uniforms, job titles, and related issues."

The move is both a plea by the Senate's top defense lawmaker for calm before the military leadership transition and a jab at Carter's recent policy moves. He and McCain have sparred in recent months over Carter's planned "Force of the Future" initiatives, designed to modernize military workforce rules to help with recruiting and retention.

"Many of the Department's recent actions in this regard have been questionable and misguided," McCain wrote. "Any effort to continue in that direction during a presidential transition and lame-duck session of Congress would be inappropriate."

In particular, Republicans on the Senate committee have criticized proposed and implemented changes to military promotion schedules, mid-career sabbaticals and family leave policies as potentially costly and misguided.

In addition, defense officials infuriated many in the naval community in September when they announced plans to drop all Navy enlisted ratings titles, to both promote more cross-training among sailors and get around problems with gender-specific job descriptions.

McCain said that personnel policy will continue to be a congressional priority in the months ahead, but that any dramatic changes need to proceed "with the transparency, public scrutiny, and congressional oversight that (they) deserve."

Members of the committee are negotiating with House lawmakers over the annual defense authorization bill, which includes an overhaul of the military medical system and changes to troops’ housing stipends among other personnel plans.

Trump has not announced his pick for defense secretary, but spent the weekend meeting with potential candidates for that role and other Cabinet posts.

Also on Monday, McCain appeared to endorse one of those candidates: retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, former head of U.S. Central Command. In a statement, McCain called him "an extraordinary leader who inspires a rare and special admiration of his troops" and "a forthright strategic thinker (whose) integrity is unshakable and unquestionable."

Leo Shane III covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He can be reached at .

Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.

In Other News
Load More