WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior military leaders take their political neutrality seriously. But this year’s presidential election — with forays into national security issues that have included proposals for carpet-bombing Syrian cities or waterboarding extremists — has the top brass navigating a political minefield.
Senior officers, from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on down, are frequently being asked to comment on what candidates are saying.
Historically, military members have been discouraged from commenting on campaign politics because the candidate they criticize may one day be commander in chief.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Joseph Dunford, says he’ll soon send a formal message to the force urging military personnel to stay out of the presidential campaign.