Author Topic: Clean House at the Pentagon  (Read 2503 times)

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Offline quadrapiper

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Re: Clean House at the Pentagon
« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2020, 03:03:13 »
To be pedantic, neither the National Security Advisor nor the CJCS are in the "chain of command".  They are both advisors to the President.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/163
Thanks for the precision!

Was thinking about the chain that, specifically, the CJCS answered to: was pretty sure it boiled down to President and Secretary.

Offline PPCLI Guy

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Re: Clean House at the Pentagon
« Reply #26 on: October 15, 2020, 08:08:13 »
It is actually an interesting feature of their system that with one notable exception. all the Service Chiefs and Combatant Commanders report directly to either their Service Secretary in the case f the Service Chefs, or to SECDEF for the COCOMs.  None report to the Chairman.  I once heard Dempsey say that "I have the authority to call a meeting - and that is about it..."

The exception is Comd NORAD (who is also a COCOM as Commander NORTHCOM).  He or she has two bosses:  SECDEEF and the Canadian CDS.

Another element of their system that differs from ours is the Service, Joint Staff, and select agencies such as DIA and DLA etc that have Congressional Liaison Offices who interact daily with the Hill, both with elected representatives, and congressional staff.
"The higher the rank, the more necessary it is that boldness should be accompanied by a reflective mind....for with increase in rank it becomes always a matter less of self-sacrifice and more a matter of the preservation of others, and the good of the whole."

Karl von Clausewitz

Offline PPCLI Guy

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Re: Clean House at the Pentagon
« Reply #27 on: October 15, 2020, 08:18:23 »
The US military is supposed to be a-political.

And there are times when that is not easy.

Here is a pertinent article this morning from Missy Ryan, who has in depth knowledge of how it is all supposed to work, and great access inside the Pentagon:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/as-election-nears-pentagon-leaders-goal-of-staying-out-of-elections-is-tested/2020/10/14/cbf20c6a-0e2a-11eb-bfcf-b1893e2c51b4_story.html

Quote
As election nears, Pentagon leaders’ goal of staying out of elections is tested
Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper and Gen. Mark Milley have been criticized for appearing alongside President Trump for a photo outside the
By
Missy Ryan
Oct. 14, 2020 at 11:15 p.m. EDT

Pentagon leaders faced renewed challenges in their attempt to steer clear of divisive election politics this week, as events during the final sprint toward the Nov. 3 polls underscore the potential for the military to be thrust once more into the partisan fray.

The issues included a new online campaign ad featuring President Trump in the White House Situation Room flanked by Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — in defiance of norms excluding uniformed leaders from campaign material — and criticism from Democratic lawmakers highlighting Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper’s handling of concerns about possible military involvement in a disputed election.

In the run-up to the vote, Trump has appealed to would-be military voters and cited his record as commander in chief as a reelection credential, as supporters of his opponent, former vice president Joe Biden, seek to brand the president as a callous leader who has blamed his top brass for problems on his watch.

At the same time, Trump has declined to commit to conceding power if he loses, fueling speculation about a disputed outcome and the potential for him to reach for the military as part of an attempt to clinch another term.

Esper, an Army veteran, and Milley, a lifelong soldier, appear intent on shielding the military from the nation’s charged political moment, but the goal has proved challenging given Trump’s penchant for flouting civil-military norms.

From his first days in office, the president treated troop events like campaign rallies, diverted military funds for his border wall project and used the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes to launch his ban on travel from Muslim-majority nations. In rare cases, defense leaders have publicly dissented. More often, they have stayed silent and sometimes sought to push back behind the scenes.

Remaining isolated from politics becomes even more difficult during a charged reelection campaign, said Jim Golby, a former Army officer and Pentagon official who is a senior fellow at the Clements Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

“It’s virtually impossible for the military to come off as not taking a side,” he said. “If they’re silent, they’re seen as complicit. If they speak out, they’re seen as anti-Trump.”

Esper has tried to distance himself from political issues in recent months by keeping a low profile, focusing on executing a military shift toward China and mostly avoiding interactions with the news media. Milley, meanwhile, has spoken repeatedly about the military’s duty to defend the Constitution rather than any particular party or leader.

In an interview with NPR over the weekend, Milley sought to minimize the possibility that the military could be pulled into an election dispute, as experts have warned. While most academics suggest the most likely such scenario would involve the president employing the military to address post-election unrest, Milley appeared to address an assertion that the military could be asked to help arbitrate the result.

“I would tell you that in my mind, if there’s a disputed election — it’s not in my mind, it’s in the law — if there’s a disputed election, that’ll be handled by Congress and the courts,” he said. “There’s no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of a U.S. election. Zero, there is no role there.”

Peter Feaver, a scholar on civil-military relations at Duke University, said the Trump campaign’s decision to run its recent advertisement showing Milley — along with Esper, Vice President Pence and national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien — next to Trump as they oversaw the 2019 military operation that resulted in the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi illustrated the “tone deafness” of Trump’s campaign team to norms governing military involvement in partisan activities.

While presidents seeking reelection, including Barack Obama in 2012, have frequently made reference to their decisions as commander in chief, and shown military personnel in campaign material, Feaver said the inclusion of a senior uniformed officer was especially problematic.

“I’m sure that Esper and Milley are uncomfortable with this and don’t like the appearance, even though they’re not allowed to say it,” Feaver said of the ad. “And I hope they don’t say it, because that will just extend the damage by getting them crosswise with the president.”

Officials said neither Milley nor Esper knew about the ad, which one official said was later taken down, ahead of time.

The ad recalls an incident in August in which several uniformed troops in American Samoa were featured in a Democratic convention video, which resulted in an Army investigation.

Relations between Trump and Esper, Trump’s second confirmed defense secretary, have been visibly strained since June, when Esper spoke out against Trump’s desire to use active-duty military troops to address widespread protests against racism and police brutality. Officials have said Trump has considered firing Esper since then.

Esper has also come in for criticism for appearing to back Trump’s response to those events and later apologized for referring to U.S. cities as a “battle space.”

On Tuesday, Reps. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) and Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), a retired Navy officer, spoke to reporters about what they called Esper’s “vague, unsatisfactory” answers to their questions about the potential for the military to be employed in a disputed election scenario.

In response to extensive questions from the two lawmakers, Esper provided a terse response: “The U.S. military has acted, and will continue to act, in accordance with the Constitution and the law,” he wrote.

Esper’s reply, submitted more than a month after a congressional deadline, differed from the more explicit responses provided by Milley in August.

Slotkin, a former Pentagon official, called on Esper to make a firmer commitment to a peaceful transition of power.

The Pentagon’s chief spokesman, Jonathan Rath Hoffman, said that Esper is “determined for the U.S. military to remain apolitical — as the American people expect.”

“The Secretary will continue to focus on leading the Department in implementing the President’s national security policy by prioritizing the readiness of the force, pivoting to confront emerging powers, and taking care of our men and women in uniform,” Hoffman said in a statement.

Milley has faced his own difficulties in navigating the Trump era. He issued an unusual public apology in June after coming under criticism when he appeared at a photo op alongside Trump outside the White House, in an area that shortly beforehand had been forcibly cleared of protesters by uniformed personnel.
"The higher the rank, the more necessary it is that boldness should be accompanied by a reflective mind....for with increase in rank it becomes always a matter less of self-sacrifice and more a matter of the preservation of others, and the good of the whole."

Karl von Clausewitz

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Re: Clean House at the Pentagon
« Reply #28 on: October 15, 2020, 19:01:30 »
It is actually an interesting feature of their system that with one notable exception. all the Service Chiefs and Combatant Commanders report directly to either their Service Secretary in the case f the Service Chefs, or to SECDEF for the COCOMs.  None report to the Chairman.  I once heard Dempsey say that "I have the authority to call a meeting - and that is about it..."

The exception is Comd NORAD (who is also a COCOM as Commander NORTHCOM).  He or she has two bosses:  SECDEEF and the Canadian CDS.

Another element of their system that differs from ours is the Service, Joint Staff, and select agencies such as DIA and DLA etc that have Congressional Liaison Offices who interact daily with the Hill, both with elected representatives, and congressional staff.

It was an interesting voyage learning how US C2 works.  Of the three primary requirements of a military force - (1) man, train and equip forces for operations, (2) command operations, and (3) provide military advice to political authorities - Canada has consolidated all three into the office of the CDS, and that officer is THE service chief, THE joint force commander, and THE source of military advice to government.  The U.S. system has broken these authorities up three ways between 6 Service Chiefs, 11 COCOMs, and 1 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline Dimsum

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Re: Clean House at the Pentagon
« Reply #29 on: October 15, 2020, 19:07:26 »
It was an interesting voyage learning how US C2 works.  Of the three primary requirements of a military force - (1) man, train and equip forces for operations, (2) command operations, and (3) provide military advice to political authorities - Canada has consolidated all three into the office of the CDS, and that officer is THE service chief, THE joint force commander, and THE source of military advice to government.  The U.S. system has broken these authorities up three ways between 6 Service Chiefs, 11 COCOMs, and 1 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Is it because of the size of the US vs Canadian militaries, or is it a part of their "checks and balances" political system?
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Re: Clean House at the Pentagon
« Reply #30 on: October 15, 2020, 19:18:33 »
A bit of both.  It's all nested in two events - the Unification struggles in the late 1940s and the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986.  US Services are big and powerful entities and have fought turf wars that make Canadian service silo fights look like child's play.  They have resisted centralization since the end of the Second World War, and these two periods represent the compromises that came out of these bureaucratic battles.  The result is the diffuse and decentralized system of military command you see today.
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline PPCLI Guy

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Re: Clean House at the Pentagon
« Reply #31 on: October 15, 2020, 19:39:06 »
And yet they still have offices in Congress.....so they are doing all they can to protect their turf....even if it is sometimes an own-goal (see A-10s and Sen McSally, or M1 Abrams and Rep Mike Turner of Ohio)
"The higher the rank, the more necessary it is that boldness should be accompanied by a reflective mind....for with increase in rank it becomes always a matter less of self-sacrifice and more a matter of the preservation of others, and the good of the whole."

Karl von Clausewitz

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Re: Clean House at the Pentagon
« Reply #32 on: October 15, 2020, 20:21:25 »
So after almost two pages of comments is that he refused to endorse something that came from a person not in his chain, and then made some general statements that did not actually contradict the tweet from POTUS, but mentioned the actual agreement that is in place and was endorsed by POTUS.

What part of this is refusing to go along with anything? I think the OP is twisting themselves into a pretzel on that one.