Former Defense leaders decry ‘extremely adverse’ political climate

Eight former secretaries of Defense and five former chairs of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Tuesday penned an open letter on best practices for “healthy” civil-military relations amid what they called today’s “extremely adverse” political environment.

The former officials — including Mark Esper, defense secretary in the Trump administration — emphasized in the letter 16 “core principles and best practices” for civilian and military professionals to live by amid what they said was an “exceptionally challenging” civil-military environment. They specifically cited political polarization caused by the disruption of the peaceful transition of power after the 2020 election — when former President Donald Trump refused to concede his loss to President Joe Biden, and a mob of his supporters subsequently stormed the Capitol to stop certification of the election results.

In the weeks following Trump’s election loss, the former president’s allies pushed for him to invoke the Insurrection Act — an 1807 law

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