The initial jaw-dropping compromise within the Pentagon was first noted when Lt. Col Alexander Vindman, on assignment to the National Security Council, admitted during his deposition to defying White House policy and delivering countermanding instructions to his colleagues in the Ukraine government.
Alex Vindman compromised his position, compromised his leadership, and made himself an issue for National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien. However, it wasn’t what Vindman did per se’, but rather what the Dept. of Defense didn’t do that was more alarming. Immediately upon notification of the compromise Defense Secretary Mark Esper (above left) was under the obligation to remove the compromise, yet he did nothing.
The Vindman example was/is a concerning lack of action by Defense Dept. leadership, and that situation is made all the more alarming today as the New York Times is reporting Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer is now openly blackmailing CiC President Donald J Trump and rebuking civilian authority and oversight.
New York Times […] The secretary of the Navy and the admiral who leads the SEALs have threatened to resign or be fired if plans to expel a commando from the elite unit in a war crimes case are halted by President Trump, administration officials said Saturday.
The Navy is proceeding with the disciplinary plans against the commando, Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, who counts Mr. Trump as one of his most vocal supporters. After reversing a demotion in recent days, the president suggested on Thursday that he would intervene again in the case, saying that the sailor should remain in the unit.
The threats by the Navy secretary, Richard V. Spencer, and the commander, Rear Adm. Collin Green, are a rare instance of pushback against Mr. Trump from members of the Defense Department. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, scrambled to come up with a face-saving compromise this past week in the hope that Mr. Trump could be persuaded to change his mind.
[…] One argument that officials said may be relied on is the assumption that a tweet does not constitute a formal presidential order. Mr. Esper and General Milley conveyed to the president that if he followed up that tweet with a direct order, there would be huge consequences: Mr. Trump would lose Mr. Spencer and Admiral Green, further infuriate his top military leadership and do untold damage to decades of military justice doctrine, according to administration officials. (read more)
Let’s cut through the chaff and fog.
The military, nor any person therein, does not get to “threaten” the President of The United States. The President is the Commander in Chief of all armed forces. It is not President Trump who would be doing “untold damage to decades of military justice doctrine“, but rather the insubordination of flag officers who are duty bound to carry out legal and constitutional instructions from the President.
The DoD inaction surrounding Lt. Col Vindman was a precursor, a visible symptom few were paying attention to; indicating a political cancer within the unified chain of command. The U.S. Secretary of the Navy threatening the U.S. President is an even more alarming symptom.
A military officer does not get to threaten his leadership with a ‘do what I demand or I will quit’ approach. Any senior level military officer who would express such a sentiment would be regarded as unstable, compromised and unfit to hold a leadership rank.
Yes, it really is that simple.