Hon. Ryan D. McCarthy, Secretary of the Army
Gen James C. McConville, Chief of Staff, United States Army
Hon. Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense
Hon. Sean O’Donnell, Inspector General (Acting), Department of Defense
Gen Joseph M. Martin, Vice Chief of Staff, United States Army
Lt Gen Thomas Seamands, G–1 (DCS Personnel), United States Army
RE: Systematic Leadership Failure
I am terribly disappointed, but not terribly surprised, at the leadership failure at senior levels of the Department of Defense and United States Army in allowing the intimidation, bullying, and loss of service to the nation of an officer selected for promotion who did his duty. In his own words, he will be fine; but the question shouldn’t even come up. I am less confident that the nation and the next generation of military leaders will be fine.
It is your job to ensure that those who are qualified for promotion to more-senior positions are promoted, free from outside interference. You have not succeeded in that tasking. Each of you must consider exactly what that means to the officers of today and of tomorrow. Each of you must further consider the permanent damage to the oath of commissioning — that one’s duty is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic — that this fiasco has done and will do in the future. Each of you must consider whether orders you have been given (however couched) regarding this matter are lawful, and how to respond personally to those orders. Each of you must consider what the treatment of Lt Col (P) Vindman — ratified through your silence — will mean to those who later must choose whether to speak truth to power outside of a combat-imminent situation.
Each of you must also consider a significant structural reform to the Defense and Army personnel systems, and advise the other services of your considerations and conclusions. There is no place for the insult of so-called “rehabilitative assignments” for commissioned officers.
Plenty more where that came from…