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Joint Chiefs Chair to Military: Stay Out of Politics

Gen. Martin Dempsey speaks out forcefully for the principle of political neutrality.

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. 


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