In an unprecedented message, the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told service members that the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol was an attack on the Constitutional process of the nation.
U.S. service members swear an oath to "support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic." The memo — signed by all eight members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — stresses that commitment and the values behind it.
The memo, signed yesterday, said the actions in the Capitol "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."
As service members, we must embody the values and ideals 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."
Joint Chiefs of Staff memo
The memo stresses that the United States military "will obey lawful orders from civilian leadership, support civil authorities to protect lives and property, ensure public safety in accordance with the law, and remain fully committed to protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."
The chiefs said the attack on the Capitol — as members of Congress were performing their constitutional duties of counting the votes of the Electoral College — was a direct assault on the constitutional process.
"As service members, we must embody the values and ideals of the nation," the chiefs wrote. "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. On January 20, 2021, in accordance with the Constitution, confirmed by the states and the courts, and certified by Congress, President-elect Biden will be inaugurated and will become our 46th commander in chief."
The chiefs urged service members all around the world to "stay ready, keep your eyes on the horizon, and remain focused on the mission. We honor your continued service in defense of every American."
The memo was signed by: Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, the Joint Chiefs vice chairman; Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConnville; Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David C. Berger; Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael M. Gilday; Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown; Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. Raymond; and Chief of the National Guard Bureau Army Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson.
Pentagon chief of staff Kash Patel told Fox News that the Defense Department is working to ensure a seamless transfer of power to the Biden administration.
"When it comes to the defense of the country, there is no honeymoon period granted by our enemies for a new administration's learning curve," Patel wrote. "That is why, as the department's chief of staff and head of the transition, I ordered the DOD to fully cooperate with President-elect Joe Biden."
The department stands ready to welcome Biden administration officials and will take part in protecting the Inauguration. The National Guard will help defend the ceremony with 15,000 troops deployed to Washington to uphold the Constitution and rule of law, Patel said.
"Here at the Department of Defense, we will ensure that the new leaders of the world's most powerful military are fully prepared to assume the helm at noon [on] Jan. 20," Patel wrote. "Along with the entire department, I wish them the utmost success and am grateful for their service to the country. I'm sure leading the brave men and women who wear the cloth of our nation will be the greatest honors of their lives, as it has been for me."