President-elect Donald Trump has appointed no less than three ex-military men to top posts in his cabinet, including John Kelly, marine, for secretary of Homeland Security; James Mattis, marine, for defence; and Michael Flynn, soldier, for national security adviser, raising concerns that their appointment violates the American constitutional principle of civilian oversight of government, designed to protect the government against a possible coup or military dictatorship. In short, Trump is militarizing the US government. David Petraeus, retired army general, and James Stavridis, retired navy admiral, are also being considered for the job of secretary of state.
Military historian Richard Kohn commented, “This is a big deal. These are civilian jobs.” Kohn questioned whether the US government would be able to maintain civilian control over military affairs and that filling the secretary of state role with another military man would be an “enormous error.”
Michael Flynn is controversial due to his Islamophobic and conspiracy theory beliefs.
Retired army general Barry McCaffrey, who served as drug czar under president Bill Clinton, said that “the optics are extremely unusual,” and referred to Flynn as “demented.”
Mattis’s nomination would require a congressional waiver since he only retired three years ago, four years shy of the seven years retired requirement.