102nd Intelligence Wing Command Message for February 2021 – Col Enrique Dovalo | Jan 21, 2021 (Video)

102nd Intelligence Wing Command Message for February 2021 – Col Enrique Dovalo
Film Credits: Video by Timothy Sandland 
102nd Intelligence Wing
Hello Team Otis. I’m Col Enrique Dovalo, commander of the 102d ISR Group and have the distinct honor of providing this month’s Wing command message.
This will probably be different than what you’re used to, since I’m recording this on the 21st of January, one day after a smooth transfer of power in the Executive Branch yesterday, despite the recent turmoil our country has experienced.
My words today are inspired by those recent events and the fact that in February we celebrate one of my favorite leaders: George Washington. Yes, he was a flawed man who ultimately accommodated slavery rather than confront it as his conscience demanded. But as both general and President, he epitomized a level of impartiality, humility, and patience in decision making from which we can all learn.
I want to speak to you specifically about two of our traditions that come from Washington’s era and were heavily influenced by him as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army.
First, our Oath of Enlistment and Oath of Office. They have changed over the years, but the sentiments of our oaths have generally remained constant. Unlike the armed forces of other nations, including some of our allies, we don’t swear allegiance to any person, political party, or organization. Rather, we swear to support and defend the Constitution. That Constitution is the embodiment of the will of the American people. And the Constitution and those people are served by our Nation’s institutions, which are filled by civil servants and military members that provide our nation with continuity.
I was lucky enough to attend an international school for my senior level PME, which had a heavy focus on international relations and governance. During my time there, one of the most important lessons I learned is that the strength and stability of our government institutions is rare in the world. Those institutions are what have brought us the exceptional security and prosperity we have enjoyed in the last century. 
We’re already seeing the Senate confirmations of newly appointed heads of departments and cabinet members get confirmed and it seems like a high turnover. There are, in fact, approximately four thousand political appointees in our government, and that sounds like a huge number…until you realize the entire Executive Branch is around 4 million people. 
That means 99.9% of our government remains the same from election to election, the highest percentage around the globe. And the members of that bureaucracy have an allegiance not to a party, or some individual, but to the Constitution of our Nation, and by extension, the institutions that keep our Nation healthy, stable, and secure.
Another tradition is one that General Washington established and reinforced through orders and his personal example is the apolitical nature of our military. He was adamantly opposed to the involvement of military personnel in political affairs. Towards the end of the War for Independence, when there was a dispute with Congress over payments owed to the officers, General Washington intervened personally to address the complaints before they escalated. 
That episode, later called the Newburgh Conspiracy, was launched by an invitation sent en masse by an anonymous soldier. It brings to my mind today’s social media, where unknown actors can hide behind a veil of anonymity while they create doubts about the very institutions that make our country strong. The undercutting of those institutions is gladly cheered on by our adversaries overseas. As military members, we must remain clear of getting swept up into any such activity. 
Today we have specific guidance for both military and civilian members as to what are allowable political and social media activities while a member of the Department of Defense, and of the Massachusetts National Guard. We must be above reproach if we are to maintain the public trust.
Thank you for sticking with me through the history lesson and lengthy commentary today. Happy New Year.

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