Military Joint Chiefs Condemn ‘Assault’ on US Capitol and ‘Constitutional Process’ – Do Not Call It an ‘Insurrection’

The White House via Flickr

On Tuesday, the U.S. military’s most senior uniformed leaders issued a rare message to the nation’s armed forces at a critical moment of heightened domestic tension. Less than a week after the assault on the Capitol by mostly Trump-supporting rioters on January 6, the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff issued an extraordinary statement affirming Joe Biden as the lawfully-elected president-elect.

They also condemned last week’s violent riot inside the Capitol as “a direct assault on the U.S. Congress, the Capitol building, and our Constitutional process.”

The statement was signed by America’s most senior general, Mark Milley, and the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), which consists of the military heads of each service branch (now including Space Force) and the National Guard Bureau. The message from the eight general and flag officers was short but pointed.

It opened with a reminder of the role the U.S. Armed Forces have played in protecting the American people and the Constitution for almost 250 years, and the trust they have earned. It also reinforces that the “U.S. military will obey lawful orders from civilian leadership,” and “remain fully committed to protecting and defending the Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

In its more misreported section, the statement also said:

We witnessed actions inside the Capitol building that were inconsistent with the rule of law. The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection.

While some media such as USA Today and NBC News blog immediately jumped to report that the Joint Chiefs were calling the Capitol riot an “insurrection,” the JCS never explicitly stated that. The paragraph was deliberately opaque.

It called the actions inside the Capitol “inconsistent with the rule of law,” but then said separately that as a general rule no one has a right to resort to “violence, sedition and insurrection.” In this way, I believe, they left the interpretation open and were treading a fine semantic and legal line, similar to what I have noted previously.

The Capitol riot was clearly criminal and maybe even ‘terroristic’ in its attempt to violently intimidate and influence the political process, but it did not meet the threshold of “armed insurrection” as no one appeared armed or showed the intent to overthrow the government of the United States.

Nevertheless, the JCS warning to U.S. servicemen and women was justifiably clear:

As service members, we must embody the values of the nation. We support and defend the Constitution. Any act to disrupt the constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values, and oath; it is against the law.

Most importantly, as Defense One noted:

That the military’s senior-most uniformed leaders should feel compelled to issue such a message to the force reflects not only deep-seated concerns about the impact bitter national division may have within the force, but also a tacit recognition that the military still remains one of the most trusted organizations in an American deeply divided over its own institutions.


Paul Crespo

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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Eugene Ross
Eugene Ross
6 months ago

don’t try to sh– on us and we won’t rub your faces in it

Rhesa F. Cook
Rhesa F. Cook
6 months ago

The service men know more than even the people in politics that everyone should stand by the constitution. I have to give them credit they are the only true patriots. They protect our county but get very little recognition. I give praise to all of our military for all that they do but do not get the praise. Do you think the politicians ever miss a meal, or a family gathering???? GIVE PRAISE TO ALL OUR MILITARY MEN!!!

Kay Kay
Kay Kay
6 months ago

Oh….!
Why would these JOINT CHIEF’s…..NOT CALL THE FRAUD, ON THE ELECTIONS, as FRAUD? Who Protects, the approx: 75 MILLION US CITIZENS, who were CHEATED?
Or DO THEIR VOTES NOT COUNT? There is ample evidence, including SEC. CAMERA PHOTOS, & MORE VOTES CAST, THAN THERE WERE VOTERS, ETC. ETC. SHOWING CHEAP-RATE FRAUD, & NOBODY CARES? We shall not FORGET…until, those, that committed these are brought to JUSTICE… Dinesh D’souza, spent 18 months in Jail for giving a friend $ 20,000/-, as campaign finance violation. That bast**d succerbyrd of FB donated 500 million, & that creep is walking around, like a hero? He will be punished…It is ONLY a matter of time….. Under Oath, the driver of that courier service, testified that he carted consignments of ballot papers fm NY to PA…& nobody cares? That is INSURRECTION…. Yes…WE SHALL NOT GORGET….. What happened to all the VIOLENCE & the looting in Seattle & LA & Minnesota? Has anybody been convicted?
BLM….! VENGENCE IS MINE, SAYS THE LORD….. You guys will ROT, in hell fire…Watch Out!

Phantom1973
Phantom1973
6 months ago
Reply to  Kay Kay

The job of the military is to follow orders to the extent that they are lawful. One is allowed to have opinions such as these but they are checked at the door or whenever one dons the uniform. Personal opinions fine, official opinions nein.

elgar333
elgar333
6 months ago
Reply to  Kay Kay

Well Said!!!
Couldn’t agree more!

Herbert G. Chapman
Herbert G. Chapman
6 months ago
Reply to  Kay Kay

No ,they were on the dems side. “Untouchable’s”.. the very reason why nobody cares about them trying to over through the second amendment . How are the military going to stop them ?

Melissa
Melissa
6 months ago

The Senior Military Leadership put out this message to let service members know that they are knowledgeable of the current situation. Situational awareness is a central tenant of the Military. I do not believe it is because they have deep rooted concerns but that they need to put out an official statement about the situation. If its to quell any concerns its all the irresponsible idiots that keep claiming that Trump or Biden will use the military to remove the other. I work for the Army and have now received this memo three times from three different levels of command.

Patricia
Patricia
6 months ago
Reply to  Melissa

I know autocorrect can change correct language into incorrect language. But, the word is tenets. Central tenet.

Sara DeCapua
Sara DeCapua
6 months ago

Where was the outrage by the left during the summer riots? Businesses, cities burned. More people shot and killed than in DC.

Sara DeCapua
Sara DeCapua
5 months ago
Reply to  Sara DeCapua

28 days to approve this message?

Patricia
Patricia
6 months ago

I don’t trust you anymore.

Phantom1973
Phantom1973
6 months ago

Very interesting. Remember that most of the senior military officers of today were ‘selected’ under Obama. As a retired officer and veteran I take my still current oath very seriously and would remind the Joint Chiefs that there oath is not to the administration that is in power but to the Constitution. Any extra/contra Constitutional acts are to be expunged by the Armed Forces. That is to say the government can become a domestic enemy of the Constitution.

Note also that officers are not bound by their oath to follow orders. You can compare the two military oaths for yourself. Moreover, senior officers do not ‘run’ the military senior NCO’s do de facto. I would point out that senior enlisted most likely have political and constitutional views very divergent from those of current General Officers. Do not read anything into that just ponder it on your own.

Lastly, when the military went to the total forces concept years ago the ‘Regular’ components were reduced drastically and the prosecution of war now falls heavily on Guard and Reserve forces. They are LOCAL and under the direction of the Governor of the state. You may chew on the consequences of that fact for a while.

Be careful what you read into any scenario and be even more careful of what you wish for.

• U.S. military force numbers, by service branch and reserve component 2019 | Statista

Gabrielle Jones
Gabrielle Jones
6 months ago

I trust no one except Almighty God.

Isabel
Isabel
6 months ago

Oh my! In spite of everything that is evil and going on, you still believe there is an almighty god? Thoroughly brainwashed!

Marti
Marti
6 months ago
Reply to  Isabel

Our Heavenly Father did not create this Evil. But He is Going to put an End to it. Please don’t say people are brainwashed, this is suppose to be an intelligent platform. Free Speech is everyone’s Right but bashing is not a RIGHT.

Marina
Marina
6 months ago

And the Capitol was stormed in a military like fashion as everyone could see them claiming the Capitol walls like military rangers.Organized by the Speaker leader of the SWAMP.

This is the next path forward, first Blocksite twitter and facebook from your internet provider, the state of Idaho internet provider blocked them both.
Tech bubble is imminent, close tweeter, FB, Instagram accounts, dump their stock if own any from your IRA, 401K check your mutual funds that have Twitter or FB included, Twitter down again, dump before they go to zero, stop buying from Amazon, NO more made in the CCP purchases, buy direct from the mom’s and pop’s stores near you, made in America only, don’t wait DO IT TODAY.

Bart
Bart
6 months ago
Reply to  Marina

Yes yes and yes done

True American
True American
6 months ago

Just saying you protect the USA both foreign and domestic means nothing if you do not do it. So where are you now?

True American
True American
6 months ago

Did you know special forces were in the protest at congress. Guess who has poorloshi’s laptop.More news in the making.This is far more serious than one can imagine.Does treason ring a bell ?

Marina
Marina
6 months ago

Twitter down 14% from last week make sure everyone keeps telling everyone else to help this is the war we are fighting..

This is the next path forward, first Blocksite twitter and facebook from your internet provider, the state of Idaho internet provider blocked them both.

Tech bubble is imminent, close twitter, FB, Instagram accounts, dump their stock if own any from your IRA, 401K check your mutual funds that have Twitter or FB included, Twitter down again, dump before they go to zero, stop buying from Amazon, NO more made in the CCP purchases, buy direct from the mom’s and pop’s stores near you, made in America only, don’t wait DO IT TODAY.

From 1/11/2021-1/14/2021 Twitter is down 14%, twitter banned TRUMP for LIFE, Twitter needs to cease.

James Everett
James Everett
6 months ago

In other words, a complete lie. So they’re in on the fraud. How sad, that our military is staffed by the same kind of people that impeached our president for nothing, and carried out the largest fraud in history.

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[…] careful not to refer to the riots as an “insurrection” as the impeachment articles charge. As I have noted previously, Trump was irresponsible in his actions and rhetoric prior to the January 6 riot, but […]


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