If you’ve followed our CTH review, research and analysis of the issues at hand, you will understand our position was that this situation, if true, had a very clear command expectation from U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
It has just been announced that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has requested the resignation of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer (pictured below) for violating the unified chain of command, blackmailing the President of the United States with an ultimatum, and hiding the threat from the Secretary of Defense.
Allow me to reassert, this is exactly the required outcome.
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.
Navy Secretary Richard V Spencer compromised his position within the unified command structure. There is no room for insubordination at this level, and gross manipulation of command authority for an independent agenda that is against the expressed will of the President of the United States; the Commander in Chief of all Armed Services.
The worst, absolute worst thing, a military officer can do is to compromise the position of his leadership. Once that compromise is identified it must be removed, with extreme prejudice.
In this type of leadership compromise the chain-of-command does not request permission from the President who -in this example- is the Commander targeted by the compromise. The immediate commanding officer (Def Sec Esper) has a duty to remove the compromise without conversation (regarding corrective action) with his superior officer, in this case President Trump, until such time as the compromise has been relieved, and subordination issue corrected. Then the corrective action is discussed with the President.
Defense Secretary Esper made exactly the right decision.
Esper has suggested to Trump that Kenneth Braithwaite, a retired Navy rear admiral who is currently the U.S. ambassador to Norway, be considered as the next Navy secretary.
One issue still remains, what about the compromise remaining from the conduct of Lt. Col Alexander Vindman?