The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff reminded American forces Tuesday of their oath to defend the Constitution following the attacks on the Capitol building last week.
The letter was addressed to the joint force, which is made up of about 1.3 million active-duty service members and more than 811,000 National Guardsmen and reservists — all of whom swore an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."
"The violent riot in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021 was a direct assault on the U.S. Congress, the Capitol building, and our Constitutional process," the memorandum said. "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."
The Joint Chiefs emphasized in the letter that President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, becoming the 46th commander in chief, and that any acts to disrupt the constitutional process not only violate military values, but the law.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff is made up of the top eight military officials in the country. It includes the chair and vice chair, the commandant of the Marine Corps, the chiefs of staff of the Army and Air Force, and the chiefs of the National Guard Bureau, naval operations and space operations. The chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, was appointed by President Trump in December 2018. He and the other Joint Chiefs members are military advisers to the president, the secretary of defense and the National Security Council.