The Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol in Washington, D.C., was an “attack on the foundation of our great republic,” the top leaders of the Air Force and Space Force said in a Jan. 13 letter to the department, reminding service members that “our oath demands that we are unwavering in safeguarding American ideals.”
The letter was signed by Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett, U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., Space Force Senior Enlisted Adviser Chief Master Sgt. Roger A. Towberman, and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass. It was the latest in a series of messages to service members following the insurrection by President Donald J. Trump’s supporters as Congress voted to certify the results of the 2020 election.
“As military and civilian Airmen and Guardians, we have a job to do,” the leaders wrote. “Guided by our core values, the American people expect us to be disciplined and focused on defending our country. Our actions build the sacred trust placed in the military by American citizens, but our actions can also erode our credibility as an institution. You are called to exhibit conduct of the highest standard.”
The letter comes as thousands of National Guard troops have deployed to Washington, D.C., in advance of the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden. Law enforcement officials have said more violence is possible in the days before and on inauguration day.
“It is a privilege to serve with each of you to defend the Nation and the rights imparted to the American people by our Constitution,” the letter states. “Remain steady and stay focused on your duties to the country. We are proud to stand beside you in service to our Nation.”
The Department of the Air Force letter comes one day after all members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sent a message to the joint force condemning the attack, saying “the rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition, and insurrection.”
“On Jan. 20, 2021, in accordance with the Constitution, confirmed by the states and the courts, and certified by Congress, President-elect Biden will be inaugurated and will become our 46th Commander in Chief,” the Joint Chiefs wrote.
Senior leaders of the U.S. Army sent a similar letter to the Army community on Jan. 13.
“Democratic elections are a constitutional right, and the military has no role in determining their outcome,” states the letter, which is signed by Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy, Chief of Staff James C. McConville, and Sergeant Major of the Army Michael A. Grinston. “The Nation expects all members of the United States Army to follow the law and do the right things the right way, whether we are in or out of uniform. To maintain the sacred trust of the American People, it is important that all those who represent the Army, in any capacity, remain models of professionalism, character, and integrity.”