In my 20 years of commissioned service in the United States Air Force, I served four presidents: Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. It’s incredibly important, when you’re serving and fighting for your country, that you understand the commander in chief’s direction. There’s a well-defined chain of command and loyalty works both ways. From the top down, and from the bottom up. Men and women in uniform can sniff out leadership, or the lack thereof, in an instant. And when they do, military capability and readiness suffers. As I’ve written in Dereliction of Duty, Reckless Disregard, War Crimes, and Conduct Unbecoming, command is entirely dependent on trust, honesty, and integrity.
Yesterday, President Donald Trump delivered his administration’s congressionally-mandated National Security Strategy in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center clearly placing America first. Historically, it’s a behind-the-scenes exercise used by national security personnel and the Pentagon to initiate plans and programs but Trump announced his intent loudly and clearly. His “principled realism” doctrine is based on four pillars: 1) Protect the Homeland, 2) Promote American Prosperity, 3) Preserve Peace Through Strength, and 4) Advance American Influence. It was a full-throated call not heard since Ronald Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as the “evil empire” and implored them to tear down the Berlin Wall.
Contrast his presentation with President Obama’s “apology tour” in 2009 and his “lead from behind” ideology where every nation was “exceptional.” From bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia, the Communist President of China, and the emperor of Japan, his refusal to identify radical Islam as the enemy in the war on terror, his premature exit from Iraq, and his unilateral withdrawal of a planned missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, Barack Obama’s foreign policy was one of retreat from leadership, appeasing of our enemies, and insult our allies. In fact, Obama’s national security strategies placed climate change and LGBTQ rights at the forefront at the expense of military modernization and esprit de corps. Not exactly, what commanders and warfighters are looking for.
Now, we have a commander in chief who, not only places the United States at the forefront but our military as well. This military veteran and former commander, for one, is thrilled. It’s nice to have the adults back in charge.