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Opinion | We Are Retired Generals and Admirals. Trump’s Actions on Jan. 6 Have been a Dereliction of Obligation.

These are important checks on civilian officers who would make illegal use of U.S. navy personnel. Governors, who possess broad command authority over our 54 Nationwide Guard organizations, for instance, might face political strain to deploy these forces to illegally intervene with elections or different democratic processes.

To acknowledge these threats to our democracy, navy leaders should proceed to develop sturdy coaching, steerage and sources for service members in accordance with these safeguards, guaranteeing the integrity of the chain of command and efficient operation of civil-military relations.

However whereas such preparedness is important, it isn’t adequate.

We every took an oath as former leaders of the armed forces to “help and defend the Structure of the USA towards all enemies, international and home.” We fulfilled that oath by way of service to civilian management elected by and accountable to the American folks. This important association, nonetheless, isn’t self-executing; it depends on civilian leaders equally dedicated to defending and defending the Structure — together with, most vital, the commander in chief.

The precept of civilian management of the navy predates the founding of the Republic. In 1775, George Washington was commissioned because the navy commander of the Continental Military below the civilian command authority of the Second Continental Congress. The following 12 months, among the many grievances listed within the Declaration of Independence towards King George III was his making “the navy impartial of and superior to the civil energy.”

The president’s dereliction of responsibility on Jan. 6 examined the integrity of this historic precept as by no means earlier than, endangering American lives and our democracy.

The lesson of that day is evident. Our democracy isn’t a given. To protect it, People should demand nothing much less from their leaders than an unassailable dedication to nation over social gathering — and to their oaths above all.

Adm. Steve Abbot, Gen. Peter Chiarelli, Gen. John Jumper, Adm. James Loy, Adm. John Nathman, Adm. William Owens and Gen. Johnnie Wilson are retired four-star generals and admirals within the U.S. armed forces.



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