Article II, Section 2: [The President] shall nominate, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, judges of the supreme court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which may be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.
So, basically, unless Congress enacts a law saying that the President can appoint military officers, the Constitution requires the Senate to confirm them. No confirmations are required for enlisted or non-commissioned officers.
See above. In fact, most high-ranking generals and admirals must stand for confirmation for positions of significant authority. For example, if the President fired General Myers and wants General Abizaid to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Abizaid would have to be nominated, confirmed by the Senate (not the whole Congress), and appointed to be CJCS, even though he is already a four-star officer.
Not necessarily. It is pretty rare for military nominations to be rejected, but they can be controversial. One example. You’ll note that MG Clark’s nomination was not acted upon in 2002, so he did not get his promotion; but he was renominated and confirmed in 2003.
In case you are curious, you can see the lists of nominations for all military officers in the Congressional Record. Go to this page, and type in a search for “S12764” (sorry, it’s a temporary page, can’t link directly to it.) Click on “print friendly display” and you’ll see pages and pages of names nominated for positions in the foreign service, for general and flag officer positions, and for even junior officer positions. You can also go to that search page, search for “s692”, click on the link “Confirmations,” and see where the Senate confirmed a number of general, flag, and “routine” nominations (i.e., for 0-1s through 0-6s).
Ooh, and I just found this , which lists all military nominations confirmed by the Senate. The ones that say “nominations beginning with Aaron Aaronson and ending with Zebulon Zzygy” are lower-ranking officers.
I’m still looking for something on battlefield promotions/commissions, but barring that, do those links answer your questions?