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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Senate moves to force Lippold to retire

Thanks to Jane Novak for the link.

Bill could force ex-Cole skipper into retirement

A U.S. Senate committee is recommending changes in military promotion regulations that could force the former skipper of the Norfolk-based destroyer Cole out of the Navy in 2008.

Language quietly inserted into a Pentagon spending bill by the Senate Armed Services Committee early this month would require that Cmdr. Kirk Lippold retire unless President Bush resubmits his nomination for promotion to captain and he is confirmed by the Senate.

The committee declined to act on Lippold’s nomination when Bush originally submitted it in 2002. Lippold’s name was returned to the White House when Congress adjourned at the end of that year, but the Navy still considers him eligible for promotion, and Bush could renominate him at any time.

Though the committee’s chairman, Virginia Sen. John Warner, has questioned Lippold’s “qualities of judgment, forehandedness and attention to detail,” a Warner spokesman said Monday that his boss has made no decision about Lippold’s fitness for promotion.

John Ullyot, Warner’s press secretary, declined comment on whether Warner authored the provisions recommended by the committee. The language concerning promotions is part of a spending bill unanimously endorsed by the committee, he said .

Lippold is not singled out by name in the committee plan, which would require Bush to act by October 2008 to renominate any officer who has been nominated but whose name has been returned to the White House without a vote by the Senate. Lippold and two other officers are the only Navy personnel in that category, the Navy confirmed Monday.

If Lippold and the others are not renominated, they would be required to retire.