Monday, November 2, 2020

Good governance includes obeying and disobeying orders

Just Security has been running a good series of articles under the theme of good governance.

One today is particularly relevant to the military generally, and because of the ongoing issue of domestic uses.

During the height of the Watergate scandal in 1974 Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger is said to have become so concerned about President [Richard M.] Nixon’s emotional state that he instructed the military chain of command that any orders conveyed directly by the President to the military should be re-routed through him to determine if they should be followed. Schlesinger was particularly concerned about orders pertaining to nuclear command and The Trump Administration, which is to say President Trump, has renewed interest in the subject of nuclear command and control and more generally the question of lawful orders.
More recently, the clearing of protesters in Lafayette Square, the advent of protest movements across the country following the death of George Floyd, and statements by President Trump about the electoral process have prompted questions about when and in what contexts the President may lawfully order U.S. Armed Forces, regular, reserve, or National Guard, into domestic and civil contexts.

James E. Baker, Good Governance Paper No. 21: Obedience to Orders, Lawful Orders, and the Military’s Constitutional Compact. Just Security, 2 November 2020.

For a wider view of domestic use of the military, check out Jens Claerman, Guardian the vigilant guardian: A legal perspective on Belgium's domestic deployment of the armed forces. 57 MIL. L. & L. of WAR REV.

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