The US armed forces will have no role in carrying out the election process or resolving a disputed vote, the top US military officer told Congress in comments released Friday.
The comments from Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, underscore the extraordinary political environment in America, where the president has declared that the expected surge in mail-in ballots will make the vote “inaccurate and fraudulent.”
“I believe deeply in the principle of an apolitical US military,” Milley said in written responses to several questions posed by two Democratic members of the House Armed Services Committee. “In the event of a dispute over some aspect of the elections, by law US courts and the US Congress are required to resolve any disputes, not the US military. I foresee no role for the US armed forces in this process.”
Milley’s tone reflects the longstanding views of military leaders who insist that the nation’s military stays out of politics and that troops are sworn to protect the country and uphold the Constitution.
Milley, known to be a student of military and constitutional history, anchored many of his responses in the nation’s founding document. Asked if the military would refuse an order from the president if he was attempting to use military action for political gain rather than national security, Milley said, “I will not follow an unlawful order.”