The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Military and the Presidential Transition

Fred Kaplan makes the same point I did here about that open letter to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: It’s not up to him to decide whether to use military force in the event a former president won’t relinquish the Oval Office. It would be up to the new president. And he makes another relevant point:

First, even if this were the military’s role, it would not be Milley’s. Under the Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff serves as the principal military adviser to the president. He (or perhaps, someday, she) has no power to command, or issue orders, to any members of the armed forces. That is the duty solely of the chiefs of staff of the military services (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines) and their combatant commanders. In other words, Nagl and Yingling sent their letter to the wrong address.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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