Support Our Troops: How the White House Fails To Do So
Guild, Rebecca Marie
MetadataShow full item record
American presidents and vice presidents can fail at properly supporting their armed forces by allowing the embezzlement of Department of Defense funds, disseminating defense- related tweets without military advisor review, and not publicly endorsing naval deterrence operations. As the American taxpayer votes for the president, who is constitutionally the head of the military as the Commander-in-Chief, the taxpayer ultimately directs the military. The American public should understand how the highest elected officials fail to serve them and their armed forces. A gap in research exists regarding the presidential impact on the military due to the military’s apolitical nature. This thesis attempts to add to the limited body of work regarding the relationship between the White House and the Department of Defense. The first contribution is the impact of public support on military operations, specifically naval deterrence. The chapter explores three case studies: Strait of Hormuz, Taiwan Strait, and South China Sea. Naval deterrence operations do not have the same level of success when the president does not officially endorse them. The second contribution of this thesis is the lack of accountability of the executive branch and embezzlement from the Department of Defense. This chapter investigates three politicians: Vice President Richard Cheney (R), President Barack Obama (D), and President Donald Trump (R). Research finds that presidents and vice presidents can become kleptocratic through the Department of Defense when there is no accountability from the legislative or judicial branches. The last contribution is the importance of recognizing that tweets are lawful orders with severe consequences on the Department of Defense. The chapter explores President Trump’s tweets aimed at North Korea, Iran, and transgender service members. Trump’s unique communication style should serve as a warning regarding the possible repercussions of removing military advisors from reviewing official communication regarding the armed forces. Finally, the thesis provides recommendations for accountability of the president and vice president to support the troops better.