Military Legitimacy and Leadership and Civil-Military Relations

Articles on Military Legitimacy and Leadership          and Civil-Military Relations:

Barnes, Rudolph C., Jr., chapter 5, Military Legitimacy: Might and Right in the New Millennium.

Barnes,____________, An Isolated Military as a Threat to Military Legitimacy, January 28, 2011, see below.

Barnes,____________, Democracy and the Military in Egypt: Friends or Foes?, see in Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law, February 7, 2011.

Govern, Kevin H.,  Higher Standards of Honorable Conduct Reinforced: Lessons (Re) Learned from the Captain Honors Incident (from The Jurist), see below.

Govern, Kevin H., Resigned to Failure or Committed to a Just Cause of Justice?  The Matthew Hoh Resignation, see in 2010 Military Legitimacy and Leadership Journal.


An Isolated Military as a Threat to Military Legitimacy               Rudy Barnes, Jr. (January 28, 2011)

 The legitimacy of the US military depends upon civil-military relations.  In Iraq and Afghanistan conflicting religions and cultures have presented daunting challenges for the US military since mission success in counterinsurgency (COIN) operations depends upon public support in those hostile cultural environments; and even in the US, civil-military relations are fragile since the military is an authoritarian regime within a democratic society.  This cultural dichotomy within our society creates the continuing potential for conflict between authoritarian military values and more libertarian civilian values that can undermine military legitimacy, especially when there are fewer bridges between the military and the civilian population it serves.

The US military is a shield that protects our national security, but it can also be a sword that threatens our national security.  After all, the US military controls the world’s most destructive weaponry.  Our Founding Fathers understood this danger and provided for a separation of powers to prevent a concentration of power in the military.  Still, if the US military were ever to become isolated from the civilian population it serves, then civil-military relations would deteriorate and US security would be at risk.

Richard Cohen has opined that we are slowly but inexorably moving toward an isolated military:

The military of today is removed from society in general. It is a majority white and, according to a Heritage Foundation study, disproportionately Southern. New England is underrepresented, and so are big cities, but the poor are no longer cannon fodder – if they ever were – and neither are blacks. We all fight and die just about in proportion to our numbers in the population.

The all-volunteer military has enabled America to fight two wars while many of its citizens do not know of a single fatality or even of anyone who has fought overseas. This is a military conscripted by culture and class – induced, not coerced, indoctrinated in all the proper cliches about serving one’s country, honored and romanticized by those of us who would not, for a moment, think of doing the same. You get the picture.

Talking about the picture, what exactly is wrong with it? A couple of things. First, this distant Army enables us to fight wars about which the general public is largely indifferent. Had there been a draft, the war in Iraq might never have been fought – or would have produced the civil protests of the Vietnam War era. The Iraq debacle was made possible by a professional military and by going into debt. George W. Bush didn’t need your body or, in the short run, your money. Southerners would fight, and foreigners would buy the bonds. For understandable reasons, no great songs have come out of the war in Iraq.

The other problem is that the military has become something of a priesthood. It is virtually worshipped for its admirable qualities while its less admirable ones are hardly mentioned or known. It has such standing that it is awfully hard for mere civilians – including the commander in chief – to question it. Dwight Eisenhower could because he had stars on his shoulders, and when he warned of the military-industrial complex, people paid some attention. Harry Truman had fought in one World War and John Kennedy and Gerald Ford in another, but now the political cupboard of combat vets is bare and there are few civilian leaders who have the experience, the standing, to question the military. This is yet another reason to mourn the death of Richard Holbrooke. He learned in Vietnam that stars don’t make for infallibility, sometimes just for arrogance.  (Cohen, How Little the US Knows of War, Washington Post, January 4, 2011)

The 2010 elections generated the usual volume of political debate, but conspicuously absent were the two wars in which US military forces have been engaged for ten years.  It seems that dissatisfaction with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has caused the American public to forget them and those military forces left to fight them.

A forgotten military can become an isolated military with the expected erosion of civil-military relations.  But the forgotten US military has not gone unnoticed: Tom Brokaw noted that there have been almost 5,000 Americans killed and 30,000 wounded, with over $1 trillion spent on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, with no end in sight.  Yet most Americans have little connection with the all-volunteer military that is fighting these wars.  It represents only one percent of Americans and is drawn mostly from the working class and middle class.  The result is that military families are often isolated “…in their own war zone.”  (See Brokaw, The Wars that America Forgot About, New York Times, October 17, 2010)  Bob Herbert echoed Brokaw’s sentiments and advocated reinstating the draft to end the cultural isolation of the military. (Herbert, The Way We Treat Our Troops, New York Times, October 22, 2010)

In another commentary on the forgotten military, Michael Gerson cited Secretary of Defense Robert Gates who warned of a widening cultural gap between military and civilian cultures: “There is a risk over time of developing a cadre of military leaders that politically, culturally and geographically have less and less in common with the people they have sworn to defend.”  Secretary Gates promoted ROTC programs as a hedge against such a cultural divide.  Gerson concluded that the military was a professional class by virtue of its unique skills and experience: “They are not like the rest of America—thank God.  They bear a disproportionate burden, and they seem proud to do so.  And they don’t need the rest of society to join them, just to support them.” (Gerson, The Wars We Left Behind, Washington Post, October 28, 2010)

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, has seconded the observations of Secretary Gates and warned of an increasingly isolated military and “…a potentially dangerous gulf between the civilian world and men and women in uniform.”  Mullen explained, “To the degree that we are out of touch I believe is a very dangerous force.”  And he went on to observe that “Our audience, our underpinnings, our authority, everything we are, everything we do, comes from the American people…and we cannot afford to be out of touch with them.” (Charley Keyes, Joint Chiefs Chair Warns of Disconnect Between Military and Civilians,, January 10, 2011)

Gerson’s observation that the military are not like the rest of Americans goes to the heart of the matter.  An isolated military that exacerbates conflicting military and civilian values could undermine civil-military relations and threaten military legitimacy.  The potential for conflicting values is evident in the article by Kevin Govern on Higher Standards of Honorable Conduct Reinforced: Lessons (Re) Learned from the Captain Honors Incident (see article posted under this section) which highlights the “exemplary conduct” standard for military personnel and the need to enforce the unique standards of exemplary conduct to maintain good order and discipline in the military.

The communal and authoritarian military values inherent in the standards of exemplary conduct often clash with more libertarian civilian values; but in the past that clash has been moderated by bridges between the military and civilian cultures, most notably provided by the draft, the National Guard and reserve components.  The draft is gone and the National Guard and reserve components are losing ground in an all-volunteer military that is withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Reserve Officer Training Program (ROTC) has provided most civilian-soldier leaders for the US military in the past, but it is doubtful that will continue in the future.  If Coleman McCarthy speaks for our best colleges and universities, then ROTC is in trouble and so are civil-military relations:

These days, the academic senates of the Ivies and other schools are no doubt pondering the return of military recruiters to their campuses. Meanwhile, the Pentagon, which oversees ROTC programs on more than 300 campuses, has to be asking if it wants to expand to the elite campuses, where old antipathies are remembered on both sides.  It should not be forgotten that schools have legitimate and moral reasons for keeping the military at bay, regardless of the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” They can stand with those who for reasons of conscience reject military solutions to conflicts.  ROTC and its warrior ethic taint the intellectual purity of a school, if by purity we mean trying to rise above the foul idea that nations can kill and destroy their way to peace. If a school such as Harvard does sell out to the military, let it at least be honest and add a sign at its Cambridge front portal: Harvard, a Pentagon Annex.  (Coleman McCarthy, Don’t ask, don’t tell has been repealed.  ROTC still shouldn’t be on campus, Washington Post, December 30, 2010)

McCarthy’s attitude toward ROTC reflects a dangerous intellectual elitism that threatens civil-military relations and military legitimacy.  But there are also conservative voices that recognize the limitations of ROTC and offer alternatives.  John Lehman, a former Secretary of the Navy, and Richard Kohn, a professor of military history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, don’t take issue with McCarthy.  They suggest that ROTC be abandoned in favor of a combination of military scholarships and officer training during summers and after graduation:

Rather than expanding ROTC into elite institutions, it would be better to replace ROTC over time with a more efficient, more effective and less costly program to attract the best of America’s youth to the services and perhaps to military careers.  Except from an economic perspective, ROTC isn’t efficient for students. They take courses from faculty almost invariably less prepared and experienced to teach college courses, many of which do not count for credit and cover material more akin to military training than undergraduate education. Weekly drills and other activities dilute the focus on academic education.  ROTC was begun before World War I to create an officer corps for a large force of reservists to be mobilized in a national emergency. It has outgrown this purpose and evolved into just another source of officers for a military establishment that has integrated regulars and reservists into a “total force” in which the difference is between part-time and full-time soldiering.   The armed services should consider a program modeled in part on the Marine Platoon Leaders Corps to attract the nation’s most promising young people. In a national competition similar to ROTC scholarships, students should be recruited for four years of active duty and four years of reserve service by means of all-expenses-paid scholarships to the college or university of their choice. Many would no doubt take these lucrative grants to the nation’s most distinguished schools, where they would get top-flight educations and could devote full attention on campus to their studies.  Youths would gain their military training and education by serving in the reserve or National Guard during college (thus fulfilling their reserve obligation). Being enlisted would teach them basic military skills and give them experience in being led before becoming leaders themselves. As reservists during college, they would be obligated to deploy only once, which would not unduly delay their education or commissioned service.  They could receive their officer education at Officer Candidate School summer camps or after graduation from college.  This program could also be available to those who do not win scholarships but are qualified and wish to serve.  Such a system would cost less while attracting more, and more outstanding, youth to military service, spare uniformed officers for a maxed-out military establishment, and reconnect the nation’s leadership to military service – a concern since the beginning of the all-volunteer armed force.  (Lehman and Kohn, Don’t expand ROTC.  Replace itWashington Post, January 28, 2011)

The system proposed by Lehman and Kohn would preserve good civil-military relations only if it could attract as many reserve component (civilian-soldier) military officers as has ROTC over the years.   Otherwise the demise of ROTC will only hasten the isolation of the US military.

As noted by Richard Cohen, Tom Brokaw, Bob Herbert, Michael Gerson, Secretary of Defense Bill Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen, the increasing isolation of the US military is a real danger to civil-military relations and military legitimacy.  The trends are ominous: US military forces are drawing down as they withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan and budget cuts are certain to reduce both active and reserve components, with fewer bridges to link a shrinking and forgotten all-volunteer military to the civilian society it serves.

The US has been blessed with good civil-military relations over the years, primarily due to the many civilian-soldiers who have served in the military.  But with fewer civilian-soldiers to moderate cultural differences between an authoritarian military and a democratic society, the isolation of the US military becomes more likely.

Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen were right to emphasize the danger of an isolated military, but that has not always been the prevailing view.  In his classic 1957 work on civil-military relations, The Soldier and the State, Samuel Huntington advocated the isolation of the professional military to prevent its corruption by civilian politics.  It is ironic that in his later years Huntington saw the geopolitical threat environment as a clash of civilizations which required military leaders to work closely with civilians to achieve strategic political objectives in hostile cultural environments such as Iraq and Afghanistan.  (see discussion in Barnes, Military Legitimacy: Might and Right in the New Millennium, Frank Cass, 1996, at pp 111-115)

Today, the specter of an isolated military haunts the future of civil-military relations and military legitimacy.   With fewer civilian-soldiers from the National Guard and Reserve components to bridge the gap between our military and civilian cultures, an all-volunteer professional military could revive Huntington’s model of an isolated military to preserve its integrity from what it perceives to be a morally corrupt civilian society.  It is an idea that has been argued before.  (see Robert L. Maginnis, A Chasm of Values, Military Review (February 1993), cited in Barnes, Military Legitimacy: Might and Right in the New Millennium, Frank Cass, 1996, at p 55, n 6, and p 113, n 20)

The military is a small part of our population—only 1 percent—but the Department of Defense is our largest bureaucracy and notorious for its resistance to change.  Thomas Jefferson once observed the need for such institutions to change with the times:  “Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.  As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstance, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times.”

Michael Gerson noted that the military remains a unique culture of warriors within a civilian culture, and that “it is not like the rest of America.”  For that reason a forgotten and isolated military with values that do not keep pace with changing times and circumstances and conflict with civilian values would not only be a threat to military legitimacy but also be a threat to our individual freedom and democracy.

In summary, the US military is in danger of becoming isolated from the civilian society it must serve. Military legitimacy and good civil-military relations depend upon the military maintaining close bonds with civilian society. In contemporary military operations military leaders must be both diplomats as well as warriors. They must be effective working with civilians in domestic and foreign emergencies and in civil-military operations such as counterinsurgency and stability operations, and they must be combat leaders who can destroy enemy forces with overwhelming force. Diplomat-warriors can perform these diverse leadership roles and maintain the close bonds needed between the military and civilian society. Such military leaders can help avoid an isolated military and insure healthy civil-military relations.


Higher Standards of Honorable Conduct Reinforced: Lessons (Re) Learned from the Captain Honors Incident (from The Jurist)

By Kevin H. Govern

JURIST Guest Columnist Kevin Govern of Ave Maria School of Law says that the recent actions against U.S. Navy Captain (Capt.) Owen Honors is a regrettable redux of the Las Vegas, NV Tailhook Association scandal of 1991. Still, this incident may reinvigorate the Department of Defense’s efforts to promote dignity and respect for all service-members, to foster a culture of accountability, and to promote and to hold those in leadership positions consistent with the highest standards of moral and ethical conduct….

On January 4, 2011, Admiral John C. Harvey Jr., Commander, United States Fleet Forces Command (USFFC), permanently relieved (stripped of command) Capt. Owen Honors of his duties as commanding officer of the world’s longest and first nuclear aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise (CVN 65). The stated reason was Capt. Honors’ demonstrated poor judgment, involving inappropriate sexual and scatological comments and actions while serving as executive officer (a/k/a XO), or second in command of that ship.The philosopher George Santayana wrote in his Reason in Common Sense, The Life of Reason, Vol.1, that “[t]hose who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Unfortunately it appears that Honors – and perhaps others in his chain of command – forgot one of the infamous misconduct scandals in modern Naval history, the so-called Tailhook ’91 convention in Las Vegas, NV. At least 119 Navy and 21 Marine Corps officers were referred by Pentagon investigators for possible disciplinary actions involving indecent assault, indecent exposure, conduct unbecoming an officer, dereliction of duty by failing to act in a proper leadership capacity. Another 51 individuals were found to have made false official statements during the investigation. None were court-martialed; instead charges were dropped or went to non-judicial punishment (NJP) known in the Navy as “Captain’s Mast.” Both Secretary of the Navy H. Lawrence Garrett III and Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Frank Kelso – attendees at Tailhook ’91 – resigned within two years of the infamous convention, and one estimate indicated that the careers of fourteen admirals and almost 300 naval aviators were scuttled or damaged by Tailhook.

Capt. Honors should have had a natural talent for excellence, and a prescience for steering clear of troubled waters – literally and figuratively. Up until the incidents in question, Honors seemingly did everything the Navy would expect of an up and coming leader – and then some. A native of Syracuse, N.Y., Honors graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1983, earned the golden wings of a Naval Aviator in September 1985, and graduated from the famed “Top Gun” school. Holding positions of trust and responsibility as an aviator, staff officer, student and commander in peacetime and in combat, Honors reported as Executive Officer of the Enterprise (CVN-65) in July 2005.

As XO, Honors evidently created and had broadcast over the Enterprise’s closed-circuit television to some 6,000 embarked sailors (10-15% of which were women) a number of controversial, provocative, and by some accounts derogatory weekly “XO Movie Night” videos. Those videos broadcast from May through November 2006 and July through December 2007, included but were not limited to comments and themes as the following:

– Foul language, including the “F-bomb;

– Material he recognized was demeaning and in poor taste, conceding in one video he’d been criticized because the clips aren’t as funny as they used to — “the XO’s lost his b***” [crude slang for male genitalia];”

– Slurs he acknowledged were inappropriate about the sexual preferences of embarked sailors, including a comment on “whether he should ask whether checkmates (the Enterprise-based fighter squadron VF-211) are gay” [in contravention of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law codified at 10 U.S.C. S.6 654 (1993)], and “[f]inally, let’s get to my favorite topic … Something foreign to the gay kid over there — chicks in the shower. This is certainly the most popular video of any of the XO Movie videos. It’s also the one that’s landed me with the most complaints.” Those comments followed with amateurish movie clips of Honors peering into showers, finding two (impliedly) naked female sailors soaping each other, and two (impliedly) naked male sailors soaping each other;

– Criticizing and implying possible reprisal against whistleblowers [in contravention of 10 U.S.C. S. 1034 (1993)], to wit: “Over the years I’ve gotten several complaints about inappropriate material during these videos. Never to me personally but, gutlessly, through other channels;” and

– Clips showing Honors and other sailors pretending to masturbate during a rectal exam, set to a song called “Spank,” and another scene implies that an officer is having sex in his stateroom with a donkey.

Excerpts from the videos and descriptions of their content were first published Saturday, January 1, 2011 by The Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk, Virginia. The Navy reacted quickly to the news stories and videos that went “viral” in national and world media. Official Navy spokesperson Commander Chris Sims said on CNN that: “Production of videos, like the ones produced four to five years ago on USS Enterprise and now being written about in The Virginian-Pilot, were not acceptable then and are still not acceptable in today’s Navy….” The Navy does not endorse or condone these kinds of actions. The Virginia Pilot News report also went on to say Honors was asked to abandon his moviemaking in 2007 and complied.

If this was true, and his superior officers knew of these improprieties, why would Honors have received fitness reports setting up to succeed as Captain of the Enterprise, and then recommend at a board of officers to assume command of the ship where he previously committed acts of misconduct? Has the tolerance for misconduct in general, and sexually-oriented improprieties in particular, increased in recent years?

Since 1991, the Department of Defense has conducted 18 major investigations into sexual assault and sexual harassment in the Armed Forces. The Pentagon says there were 3,230 reported sexual assaults involving military members in fiscal year 2009. That was an 11 percent increase from 2008, according to the statistics. At the military service academies — West Point and the Air Force and Naval academies — there were 41 reports of sexual assault involving cadets and midshipmen during the 2009-2010 academic year.

At the same time, military officials estimate that as much as half of all sexual assaults in the ranks go unreported, and by General Accountability Office (GAO) estimates, the military’s mandatory sexual assault prevention and response training programs are not “consistently effective.” The GAO also concluded, amongst other findings, that many victims remain silent because they fear ridicule or believe that no action will be taken.

Kerry Dougherty, The Virginian-Pilot reporter who has broken much of this story to the world’s attention, wrote recently that “according to the Enterprise’s (un)official Facebook page, where folks are weighing in largely to defend the embattled Honors, these vulgar flicks delighted many,” with such anonymous comments as “I believe Capt. Honors was trying to make himself approachable by his crew as well as improving the morale on a ship…” He also quoted a former sailor, Jessica Roman who “praised Honors, saying his ‘funny videos’ were stress relievers” and who was “‘shocked’ by the news stories about her former executive officer.”

Commissioned leaders are not valued for their ability to entertain or relieve stress; they certainly are not charged with creating hostile work environments, especially where they sail, ride, jump, or walk into harm’s way. They are supposed to be professionals dedicated to the profession of arms. As members of a profession, they engage in a career dedicated to knowledge and skill expertise gained by formal education and long-term experience in the workplace, validated by formal examinations and credentials. They also dedicate themselves to a “career commitment and a closed community with strong feelings of loyalty,” and “have their careers controlled by accession, assignment, and promotion based on competence,” and, in no small part, are subject to “a formal code of law and ethics developed, maintained, and applied by the profession.” The Navy has concluded that Capt. Honors’ actions were prejudicial to good order and discipline. This is not some politically correct, management-speak concept. Effective, confident military forces that fight and win wars and sustain peace always depend upon the cohesive nature of good order and discipline. The Department of Defense generally considers conduct as “prejudicial to good order and discipline” if it calls into question a service member’s objectivity, results in actual or an appearance of preferential treatment, undermines authority, and compromises the chain of command.

Capt. Honors’ Navy owes its traditions of exemplary adherence to law and ethics to John Adams, who drafted the first “exemplary conduct” standards for Continental Navy and Army forces approved by the Continental Congress. The first Article of the 1775 “Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies of North-America,” mandated “exemplary conduct” for Navy leaders. Article XLVII of the 1775 American Articles of War forbade officers from “behaving in a scandalous, infamous manner.” The rules also called for publishing details of “the crime, name, place of abode, and punishment of the delinquent … in the news papers, in and about the camp, and of that colony from which the offender came, or usually resides: after which it shall be deemed scandalous in any officer to associate with him.” In 1956, Congress re-codified the Navy’s 1775 Rules, but it wasn’t until 1997 that the same Preface quotes the Senate Armed Services Committee’s “legislative intent” behind the “exemplary conduct” standard. The standard would “not prevent an officer from shunning responsibility or accountability for an action or event” but instead would “establish a very clear standard by which Congress and the nation can measure officers of our military services.” Congress “holds military officers to a higher standard than other members of society … [and] the nation deserves complete integrity, moral courage, and the highest moral and ethical conduct.”

So what exactly is the standard of “exemplary conduct?” The language of the Exemplary Conduct Statute (10 U.S.C. S. 5947, with other service analogues at different sections), reads as follows:

“All commanding officers and others in authority in the naval service are required– (1) to show in themselves a good example of virtue, honor, patriotism, and subordination; (2) to be vigilant in inspecting the conduct of all persons who are placed under their command; (3) to guard against and suppress all dissolute and immoral practices, and to correct, according to the laws and regulations of the navy, all persons who are guilty of them; and (4) to take all necessary and proper measures, under the laws, regulations, and customs of the naval service, to promote and safeguard the morale, the physical well- being, and the general welfare of the officers and enlisted persons under their command or charge.”

Commissioned officers must ensure that they have not misunderstood or misinterpreted or been erroneously informed of illegality, immorality, or unethical conduct, but where they find it, their oath of office, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), along with the Exemplary Conduct Statute will legally compel them to “do the right thing.”

They lead by example. They stop illegal, immoral, or unethical practices from taking place in the first place. They report those matters that they know to be illegal, immoral, or unethical, using the tools, traditions, institutions, and channels of communication available to us within the chain of command. In the instance of multinational, coalitional, or interagency operations, to include the Department of Defense as a whole, there are often reporting and resolution mechanisms beyond the immediate chain of command but which should be approached only upon “exhaustion of remedy” at initial and subsequent echelons of reporting or resolution.

As a last resort, when Commissioned Officers find themselves irreconcilably incapable of discharging the duties of the office upon which they have entered, they may – and should – resign their office. Amongst others, General Robert E. Lee chose to do this, saying:

With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I have therefore resigned my commission in the Army, and save in defense of my native State, with the sincere hope that my poor services may never be needed, I hope I may never be called on to draw my sword.

History has and will continue to judge the judgment exercised towards that end.

Sir Winston Churchill never said that “[t]he only traditions of the Royal Navy are rum, sodomy and the lash.” His assistant, Sir Anthony Montague-Browne rebutted that Churchill ever said this oft-repeated, and unfair characterization of past Naval tradition. What is certain about today’s modern American Navy, as well as the other Armed Forces, is that military leaders more than ever must be arbiters and role models of exemplary conduct in every instance, location, and situation. They must be part of the solution to prevent and to prosecute sexual assault and sexual harassment in the armed forces. They now must also find ways to implement – with dignity and respect for all service members – the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 (H.R. 2965, S. 4023); that law repeals law and policy from 1993 onward (10 U.S.C. S. 654) that had prevented openly gay and lesbian people from serving in the U.S. military. When those in command cannot or have not demonstrated exemplary conduct, they, too, may be held accountable like Capt. Honors, or should resign their commissions like General Lee.

Kevin Govern is a professor at Ave Maria School of Law. He began his legal career as an US Army Judge Advocate, serving 20 years at every echelon during peacetime and war in worldwide assignments involving every legal discipline. He has also served as an Assistant Professor of Law at the United States Military Academy and has taught at California University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise attributed, the conclusions and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, or Ave Maria School of Law.

Suggested citation: Kevin Govern, Higher Standards of Honorable Conduct Reinforced: Lessons (Re)Learned from the Captain Honors Incident, JURIST – Forum, Jan. 12, 2011,

January 12, 2011


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