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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Chain Of Command Gaffe Made By Barack Obama Ignored By Media #2

This was mentioned yesterday in a short post but it bears looking a little deeper into the ramifications of the inexperience that Barack Obama actually showed with his comment about the Joint Chief of Staff.

Barack Obama said, "I'm going to call in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and give them a new mission, and that is to bring the war in Iraq to a close." The problem is that the Joint Chief of Staff does not have operational command of the U.S. Military.
The chain of command is the line of authority and responsibility along which orders are passed.

It is a common misconception that the Joint Chief of Staff runs military operations for those that have no military experience, but according to the chain of command for the United States, the responsibility of conducting military operations goes directly from the President of the United States of America to the Secretary of Defense and straight from there to the Unified Combatant Commands.

Those orders bypass the Joint Chief of Staff completely. The primary responsibility of the Joint Chief of Staff is to ensure the personnel readiness, policy, planning and training of their respective military services for the combatant commanders to utilize. They also militarily advise the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense with the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff being a chief military adviser to both.

CNN, while showing the clip of Obama saying "I'm going to call in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and give them a new mission, and that is to bring the war in Iraq to a close. We are going to get out", which can be seen here, never mentioned the misstatement by Obama and, as of now, a search shows that no other major news organization has reported the gaffe.

Originally this was caught by conservative writer and radio show host, Hugh Hewitt from Townhall and picked up by NewsBusters and The Media Research Center, who instantly sent out an alert via email.

Bloggers have picked up on this with Dean Barnett, from the Weekly Standard Blog, asking, "As he’s been running for office for 18 months now, shouldn’t he have found some time to explore the way the president interacts with the military rather than repeat canned (not to mention erroneous) assumptions he’s probably held since his community organizing days?"

The question here is where is the media on this? CNN actually showed the clip of Obama's words, which means the gaffe was shown publicly but they haven't reported on that specific aspect of his comment yet.

The second question revolves around the type of knowledge Americans expect from those running to be the Commander in Chief of the United States Military.

Do Americans expect candidates to understand the chain of command and the duties and responsibilities of those they wish to command?