USA

US Forces’ chain of command broken?

Gen. John E. Hyten, commander, Air Force Space Command

Speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia, Canada, Gen. John Hyten, who is the commander of US Strategic Command, said that he would defy’illegal’ nuclear strike order.
While the General didn’t provide what would constitute an illegal nuclear order, the open discussion on possibilities of defying Commander-in-Chief itself can be a cause of concern.

John Hyten, commander of the US Strategic Command (Stratcom),who was interacting at the Halifax international security forum in Nova Scotia, Canada that he had given a lot of thought to what he would say if he received such an order. “I provide advice to the president. He will tell me what to do,” Hyten said. “And if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I’m going to say, ‘Mr. President, that’s illegal.’ And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ‘What would be legal?’ And we’ll come up with options… a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that’s the way it works. It’s not that complicated.”

US President’s role of Commander In Chief of its armed forces is normally treated above politics. With quite a few Presidents having served in armed forces themselves, White House has been normally considered as ‘their own’ by the men in uniform.

However with President Trump, things seem to be going in a different way. His regular threats to North Korea, with possibilities of pre preemptive nuclear strikes take away the moral high ground from US. While US forces may be superior to almost all armies of the world, the loose twitter volley that Trump has traded has led many to ask his capabilities as Commander in Chief.

Retired Gen Robert Kehler, commander of US Strategic Command (StratCom) from 2011 to 2013, told a Senate committee that he would have refused to carry out a nuclear first strike on presidential orders if he believed it did not meet the requirements of proportionality and necessity under the law of armed conflict. One of his fellow Republican, Senator Bob Corker, had said last week that “once that order [to launch a nuclear strike] is given and verified, there is no way to revoke it.” and that he cannot trust Trump who is running the country as a reality show on course to a third World War

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