As she awaits the end of a Senate standoff that will likely see her eventually confirmed as the Navy’s 33rd chief of naval operations, acting CNO Adm. Lisa Franchetti sent a message to the fleet last week urging everyone to stay the course, even if there is technically a gapped billet at the very top.

Along with the presumptive next leaders of the Army and Marine Corps, Franchetti has yet to formally become the Navy’s top officer due to a blanket hold on fast-tracked senior military nominations and promotions by Sen. Tommy Tuberville.

The Alabama Republican began the blockade in March over his objections to the Defense Department’s abortion policy. Under the policy announced last fall, service leaders can provide time off and travel stipends for troops to travel across state lines to seek out abortion services.

The impasse has shown no signs of clearing up, but in her Aug. 14 message to the fleet, Franchetti urged sailors to carry on as usual.

She technically remains the vice chief of naval operations until formally confirmed by the Senate.

“The work of our Navy continues undisrupted and unabated,” Franchetti wrote in the naval administrative message. “During this leadership transition, our core identity as Sailors remains unchanged. We are forged by the sea and connected to each other through our core values of honor, courage, and commitment.”

Franchetti also noted that “all current orders and directives” issued by the 32nd CNO, Adm. Mike Gilday, remain in effect.

Gilday relinquished command in a ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy on Aug. 14.

Franchetti wrote that the Navy is transiting a “decisive decade,” and that the sea service has “commenced a once-in-a-generation transformation of our Navy in order to develop, design and deploy the weapons and tools we need to compete and win, both now and in the future.”

“I am proud to serve beside you and will rely on your continued commitment to our Navy and our Constitution,” she wrote. “Thank you for what you do, and please pass my thanks to your families and support networks for what they do to keep us ready — every day — to fight and win against any adversary, any time.”

Geoff is the editor of Navy Times, but he still loves writing stories. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at

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