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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Joint Chiefs Chair to Military: Stay Out of Politics

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Caitlin Fairchild/GovExec.com
Last week, we had the privilege of hosting Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a Government Executive Leadership Briefing. At that event, he commented that trust was "the thing that holds it all together" when it comes to the military. 

This week, Dempsey picked up the theme in a post at the DoD Live site, writing of the trust that "binds us with those we serve -- the American people and the elected officials who represent them."

"One way we earn this trust," Dempsey added, "is by avoiding partisan activities." Members of the armed services, he wrote, must be acutely aware of the importance of political neutrality. 

"All those who actively wear the uniform should be familiar with the regulations that guide political activity," Dempsey said. "The lines between the professional, personal -- and virtual -- are blurring. Now more than ever, we have to be exceptionally thoughtful about what we say and how we say it."

Dempsey argued that fidelity to the principle of political neutrality and respect for civilian control of the military ought to extend to former and retired members of the military, too -- especially generals and admirals. 


Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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