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'We already know this': Troops say anti-sedition letter from military brass restates the obvious

Memo from the Joint Chiefs of Staff reminded service members of their oath to "support and defend the Constitution."

Published: January 13, 2021 8:55pm

Updated: January 14, 2021 9:43am

Active duty troops and military civilian leaders on Wednesday expressed puzzlement over an unprecedented memo from the Joint Chiefs of Staff that reminds service members that they are sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

The Jan. 12 memorandum was signed by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, along with Vice Chairman John Hyten and the six uniformed service chiefs. The chiefs wrote in the letter that the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol was an attack on the Constitutional process. They declared in the memo that service members swear an oath to "support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic." 

Last week's actions in the Capitol "were inconsistent with the rule of law," the chiefs wrote. "The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection."

While not questioning the points in the memo — which included the declaration that Joe Biden will be sworn in as president of the United States — recipients and observers questioned why the letter was sent to the force.

"We're not sure why that went out," an aide to one service secretary told Just the News. "Ours is a highly trained, professional force. They don't need to be reminded of basic fundamentals."

"We already know this stuff," one Marine Corps sergeant said. "People in my unit were saying, this must be a joke. If it's not a joke, it's an insult."

Milley's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Just the News. 

The January letter is not Milley's first missive to state what one active duty airman called the "obvious." Over the summer, the four-star Army general asked his chiefs to deliver a message to their respective forces.

"Every member of the U.S. military swears an oath to support and defend the Constitution and the values embedded within it," Milley wrote in a June 2 memorandum to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In that memo, Milley asked the chiefs to remind their forces that "we will uphold the values of our nation, and operate consistent with national laws and our own high standards of conduct at all times."

In a handwritten addendum to that letter, Milley wrote: "We all committed our lives to the idea that is America. We will stay true to that oath and the American people."

No parallel letter was sent by the acting Secretary of Defense, Christopher Miller, and the respective politically appointed service secretaries.  

Miller on Wednesday issued a statement of his own — pertaining to the COVID vaccine.

"On behalf of Operation Warp Speed, I am proud to report that today, 1,463,900 additional vaccines were distributed to the American people," Miller said Jan. 13. "Today's great work brings the total number of vaccine doses distributed to 29,107,500."

In a statement Jan. 13, the Pentagon affirmed that it "stands ready to welcome Biden administration officials," and that it will participate in protecting the inauguration.

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