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Old 12-13-2019, 07:23 AM
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Arrow Military Brass to Troops: Beware of Political Firestorm

Military Brass to Troops: Beware of Political Firestorm
By: Jeffrey Rodack - NewsMax - 12-13-19
Re: https://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/mi.../13/id/945813/

Top military officials are warning troops to be careful about political involvement and stay clear of political controversies, Politico is reporting.

Faced with a potential Senate impeachment trial and the 2020 elections drawing closer, the military brass says the troops should avoid being sucked into the firestorm.

They fear the active-duty military could lose its role in society as a force untainted by politics, according to Politico.

"We're a pretty young force so we can't assume that a lance corporal or a lieutenant knows what an election year means," Gen. David Berger, the commandant of the Marine Corps, said.

“There wasn't social media eight, 12, 16 years ago. That wasn't a factor. Now it's a huge factor.”

The Marine Corps has issued guidance on how its troops can and cannot engage in politics.

According to Politico, active-duty Marines can like a candidate’s social media page or otherwise “express personal views,” but can’t attend campaign events in uniform, engage in partisan fundraising, display candidates’ yard signs or share their online appeals, or volunteer for their campaigns.

And the chief of naval operations told the fleet this month they “must not give anyone cause to question our fundamental values.”

Charles Allen, a retired Army colonel who is a professor at the U.S. Army War College added: “Being nonpartisan is part of our DNA, part of our culture and ethos."

"What makes us different from other nationalities is we don't pledge allegiance to an individual but to a principle that is embodied in the document called the Constitution."
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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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Old 12-13-2019, 07:33 AM
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Default Brass to troops: Stay out of political firestorm

Brass to troops: Stay out of political firestorm
By: Bryan Bender - Politico - 12-13-19
RE: https://www.politico.com/news/2019/1...restorm-084160

Multiple current and former leaders see new pressures eroding the military's apolitical tradition.

Rank and file troops sharing candidates' positions on social media. MAGA ball caps on display at military bases. Former soldiers, pardoned of war crimes charges, appearing on stage with the commander-in-chief at a political fundraiser.

These and other examples of partisanship seeping into the armed forces are prompting generals and admirals to confront what they see as a growing threat — the active-duty military losing its hard-fought role in society as a force untainted by politics.

Now, with President Donald Trump facing both reelection and a Senate impeachment trial, the brass is warning the troops to be vigilant against being ambushed.

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"We're a pretty young force so we can't assume that a lance corporal or a lieutenant knows what an election year means," Gen. David Berger, the commandant of the Marine Corps, said in an interview. He added: “There wasn't social media eight, 12, 16 years ago. That wasn't a factor. Now it's a huge factor.”

The Marine Corps issued guidance this month on why and how its troops and employees can and cannot engage in politics: Active-duty Marines can like or follow a candidate’s social media page or otherwise “express personal views,” for example, but can’t attend campaign events in uniform, engage in partisan fund-raising, display candidates’ yard signs or share their online appeals, or volunteer for their campaigns.

Berger has also delivered the message directly in two recent private meetings with current and future commanders.

"Being nonpartisan is part of our DNA, part of our culture and ethos."
- Retired Army colonel Charles Allen

"Here's the things you can do, here's the things you cannot do, and a reminder of why ... these are the rules," Berger said. "It's not open for interpretation."

The chief of naval operations issued a related message to the fleet this month, telling sailors they "must not give anyone cause to question our fundamental values.”

One of those values is the U.S. military's apolitical character, which has long been central to its identity and has been instilled in both the enlisted ranks and the officer corps — especially since the end of the draft and advent of an all-volunteer force nearly five decades.

"Being nonpartisan is part of our DNA, part of our culture and ethos," said Charles Allen, a retired Army colonel who is a professor of leadership and cultural studies at the U.S. Army War College. "What makes us different from other nationalities is we don't pledge allegiance to an individual but to a principle that is embodied in the document called the Constitution."

It is a heritage, he said, that explains why the military commonly rates as the most respected public institution in opinion polls. It is also considered a bulwark against the military power grabs that have bedeviled other democracies, particularly in Latin America.

"We have seen several societies and nations in our hemisphere — and throughout history — [that] when the military has lost sight of that there has been problems, especially in democracies," Allen said.

In the United States, "there has not been a fear of a military coup or threat to the government" since the Civil War, Allen said.

But multiple current and former leaders see new pressures eroding the military's apolitical tradition.

They cite the increasing temptations that Twitter and other social media sites pose for undermining the Pentagon’s rules on political conduct — now supercharged by the upcoming impeachment of the commander in chief.

Trump’s own actions are adding to the problem, his critics say. They include his recent pardons of three military personnel convicted or charged with war crimes, two of whom he later invited to attend a Florida fundraiser for his reelection campaign.

The Pentagon’s leadership has been “very sensitive" to the challenges it faces "at this moment in history,” said retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles Dunlap, the executive director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke University School of Law. But he worries that impeachment takes the dangers to a new level, with the potential of embroiling the military in an unusual level of partisanship and possibly sowing confusion in the ranks about who is in charge.

“There a few things that the military ought to avoid more than any entanglement with an impeachment process which, unfortunately, will likely be fraught with hyper-partisanship,” Dunlap said. He suggested that the Pentagon should consider new ways to educate the ranks on what impeachment means — and what it doesn’t —to avoid any confusion, including “an explanation as to how the process works.”

Another growing concern is the ubiquitous nature of social media and its ever-more partisan bubbles.

"We know there is a tendency [for Americans] to go towards news sources that affirm and confirm their own belief," said Allen. "The military is not immune from those types of engagements."

Berger, the Marine commandant, described how the challenge has grown since he came up the ranks: “The instruction I got was, 'These are the bumper stickers you can and can't put on your truck or the sign you can and can't put it on your front yard.' Well, now controlling social media is a whole other animal, right?”

The Marine Corps is taking the most assertive approach. Lt. Gen. John Broadmeadow, the director of the Marine Corps staff, issued updated guidance to all Marines on Dec. 2 saying, in part, that “active duty members will not engage in partisan political activities, and all military personnel will avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval, or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign, or cause."

It also singles out social media. "Because an active duty member may not engage in partisan political activity,” it outlines, “the active duty member may not post or make direct links to a political party, partisan political candidate, campaign, group, or cause; such activity is akin to distributing literature on behalf of those entities."

However, troops can express their personal opinions, pen a letter to the editor on a political issue, and even "like" a candidate's web page. But they are expressly prohibited from engaging in advocacy, including attending a campaign rally in uniform — which is why donning "Make America Great Again" hats or displaying campaign paraphernalia on duty is considered verboten. (Former military personnel, in contrast, have no restrictions, though many career soldiers purposefully stay out of politics after leaving uniform.)

Berger has also given verbal instructions to top Marine commanders, both at a recent conference with lieutenant colonels and colonels preparing to take over command and during a meeting with his three-star commanders and their staffs.

Adm. Michael Gilday, the chief of naval operations, issued his own reminder last week about what the Navy expects, urging “every sailor to think about who we are as a Navy and the constitutional oath we commit ourselves to. That oath is what binds us together. It is the foundation of our profession.”

The guidelines governing political activity apply to all members of the active-duty military. Spokespeople for the Army and Air Force say they have yet to issue any new directives and are waiting for Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s office to update department-wide guidance, which hasn't been revised since 2008, according to Pentagon spokesperson Jessica Maxwell.

Ultimately, defending the military against political pressures is the defense secretary’s job, said former Secretary Ash Carter, who served in top Pentagon roles under Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

"So many of our institutions are under assault from all kinds of directions,” Carter said in an interview. “Things that took a long time to build can be torn down in a very short time and I'm determined that our military and our Defense Department not be in that category. "

Berger insists he is remaining vigilant. "I have not gotten dragged into a divisive political role at all yet," he told POLITICO. "It could happen, but it hasn't happened yet. The next 12 months is going to be a little different.”
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Boats

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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