Trump intervened to reverse sentences against all three service members, ignoring Pentagon leaders who had told him such a move could damage the integrity of the military judicial system, the ability of military commanders to ensure good order and discipline, and the confidence of US allies and partners who host US troops.
…The Pentagon chief “fired” the Navy secretary Sunday for going outside his chain of command by proposing a “secret agreement with the White House.”
…”I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” [Navy Secretary Richard] Spencer wrote in his letter to the President acknowledging his termination.
…Current and former military officials say discipline is central to the US military ethos: that US forces are highly trained to operate in a legal and disciplined manner and if they are found guilty of violations, they must face punishment.
Beyond the impact on the military judicial process, there “could be an impact on military leaders and their ability to enact measures of good order and discipline. There also could be a potential crisis of confidence in the potential countries we’re operating in.”