Opinion: Including LTC Vindman on the Current Army Colonels’ Promotion List Is Once Again a Case of Military Defiance of Their Commander in Chief

AP featured image
Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a military officer at the National Security Council, center, arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, to appear before a House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Committee on Oversight and Reform joint interview with the transcript to be part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The Army Colonels’ Promotion List has been drafted. LTC Alexander Vindman’s name is supposedly on it. The list is thought to be at the White House for the President’s approval before it goes to the Senate for its Advice And Consent. Right on cue, stories from the New York Times (along with several other outlets) cautioning against Presidential interference. These folks claim that a Presidential intervention with the Vindman promotion could politicize the Military. Supposedly several retired Flag Officers have made their concerns about this known to various news agencies.

Read: Promotion in Jeopardy for Army Officer Who Challenged Trump on UkraineMilitary officials fear the White House may retaliate against Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman for his testimony in the House impeachment inquiry.

Read: Defense Secretary Faces White House Pressure on Aides and a Military Promotion. Senior Defense Department personnel who are perceived as White House critics are resigning or facing reprisal.

Trump nixing promotion of Army impeachment witness could politicize military, senators warn

It appears, once again, that the apple of Mr. Pulitzer’s eye, the venerable “Gray Lady,” the Country’s “Paper of Record,” has once again gotten everything completely wrong, starting with the idea that this is the Military’s promotion process and the President should not “interfere.” Wrong on both counts.

The Military Promotion Process belongs completely and utterly to the President of these United States, operated on his behalf by the Military. As such, he cannot “interfere. It’s his process to go as hands-on as he desires. Here is why. All Officers of the United States (including military officers) are commissioned by the President under Article II of the United States Constitution. As such, they serve at the pleasure of the President and at the rank that he determines—all of course, with the Advice and Consent of the Senate. A short while ago, I did a short series detailing a lot of this.


Opinion: The Rot Is Deep (Part I)

Opinion: The Rot Is Deep (Part II)

Opinion: The Rot Is Deep (Part III)

Here is the important takeaway from this piece…The Military Promotion Process belongs lock, stock, and barrel to the President. The process is his, not the Military’s. The process’s sole purpose is to provide the President of these United States with the best advice possible, so that he, in turn, may then determine the best-qualified officers to promote. Once again, this process belongs to the President. It is he who nominates the officers for consideration by the Senate. It is he who the Constitution charges with commissioning all officers of the United States.

Should it come to the attention of the President that an officer has acted improperly or contrary to his legal orders, then, of course, the President may order that officer removed from promotion consideration. This process (or more correctly, processes for all of the Armed Services) have gone on for a long time. Things have run so smoothly (for a government process) that the President is incorrectly seen by many, even some Flag Officers, as some sort of “rubber stamp” for a decision that they believe belongs to the Military.

Like President Trump’s previous decision to intervene at an earlier stage in a few military discipline cases, this is another example of the necessity for POTUS to clear out some of the bureaucratic rot. There have been way too many instances that the bureaucracy, the noted “Interagency” and its analogs, keep trying to wag the dog…to direct the duly elected President, as opposed to providing him with the information and advice he needs to do his job properly.


The current Army Active Duty Colonels’ Promotion List is an opportunity to once again send some needed messages to entrenched bureaucracy: 1) Public Defiance of the Chain of Command and the duly elected President will not be tolerated and 2) The Military Promotion System(s) are there to support the President, not the other way around.

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