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Friday, December 28, 2018

Military: the Oath and Civic Participation

General Joseph Dunford, Jr., chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, wrote in 2016:
Every Servicemember swears “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States” and to “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” This oath is embedded in our professional culture and underpins the values that shape and define our all-volunteer force. Beginning with General George Washington resigning his military commission, our deliberate and disciplined commitment to upholding the principle of civilian control of the military underpins not only our warrior ethos but also the expectations of how we conduct ourselves while in uniform.
Every member of the Joint Force has the right to exercise his or her civic duty, including learning and discussing—even debating—the policy issues driving the election cycle and voting for his or her candidate of choice. Provided that we follow the guidance and regulations governing individual political participation, we should be proud of our civic engagement. What we must collectively guard against is allowing our institution to become politicized, or even perceived as being politicized, by how we conduct ourselves during engagements with the media, the public, or in open or social forums.