Read: Message to the Joint Force re: Attack on U.S. Capitol

This week, the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a rare and pointed letter to the entire U.S. military in response to last week’s assault on the U.S. Capitol building.

The letter reads:

The American people have trusted the Armed Forces of the United States to protect them and our Constitution for almost 250 years. As we have done throughout our history, the U.S. military will obey lawful orders from civilian leadership, support civil authorities to protect lives and property, ensure public safety in accordance with the law, and remain fully committed to protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

The violent riot in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021 was direct assault on the U.S. Congress, the Capitol building, and our Constitutional process. We mourn the deaths of the two Capitol policemen and others connected to these unprecedented events.

We witnessed actions inside the Capitol building that were inconsistent with the rule of law. The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection.

As Service Members, we must embody the values and ideals of the Nation. We support and defend the Constitution. Any act to disrupt the Constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values, and oath; it is against the law.

On January 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.

To our men and women deployed and at home, safeguarding our country – stay ready, keep your eyes on the horizon, and remain focused on the mission. We honor your continued service in defense of every American.

Mark A. Milley
General, U.S. Army
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

John E. Hyten
General, U.S. Air Force
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff

James C. McConville
General, U.S. Army
Chief of Staff of the Army

David H. Berger
General, U.S. Marine Corps
Commandant of the Marine Corps

Michael M. Gilday
Admiral, U.S. Navy
Chief of Naval Operations

Charles Q. Brown, Jr.
General, U.S. Air Force
Chief of Staff of the Air Force

John W. Raymond
General, U.S. Space Force
Chief of Space Operations

Daniel R. Hokanson
General, U.S. Army
Chief of the National Guard Bureau