By CRAIG E. CAMPBELL
I read an article in the National Guard Association magazine concerning your orders for a military-wide stand down to address extremism in the ranks.
While it is sad our nation’s military has reached the point where leadership believes we must stand-down to remind ourselves of the values we share as Americans and our obligation to support the Constitution of the United States, I was particularly appreciative of your focus on the military Oath of Office.
Having served over 35 years as a member of both the United States Air Force and Alaska National Guard, I am incredibly proud of having unambiguously supported the Constitution of the United States and the Oath of Office I took as a military officer to defend this nation against all enemies, foreign or domestic.
I was moved by your words “Because we each took an oath to obey the law, support and defend the Constitution, and to do our jobs to the best of our ability, we expect public servants to be guided in their actions by a strong moral compass.”
These are challenging times for America. The violent riots in many of our cities across this great nation this past summer by radical groups determined to undermine our constitutional republic, coupled with the tragic occupation of the United States Capitol in January, the center of government for our great nation, has created the greatest constitutional crisis we have faced since the Civil War.
We are a nation polarized by political extremism that is starting to infiltrate every fiber of our country. Like you, I am concerned about the recent trend of military officers politicizing our defense services.
This is not just an issue concerning alleged right-wing extremism. It also includes left-wing extremists who do not believe in the fundamental basis of our Constitution and the foundation of a free and open society.
Your words that “We will not tolerate actions that go against the fundamental principles of the oath we all share, including actions associated with extremist or dissident ideologies,” provides a clear commander’s intent to ensure our military remains free from political influence and that members of our uniformed services do not act or speak in any manner that may be viewed as subversive to our ideals.
As you pursue your leadership role to purge the military of “extremism,” I trust you will be removing individuals from all political credos who may not be able to affirm their Oath of Office to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without mental reservation of purpose of evasion.”
In the Alaska National Guard we have an officer in who, in his civilian capacity as an elected official on the Anchorage Assembly, has stated his opinion that about Constitution, and I quote: “…every portion of our constitutional law is with race… All of it was tied to race.”
Forrest Dunbar, a JAG officer in the Alaska National Guard, a local elected official, and a candidate for Mayor made that quote clarifying his belief that the Constitution is race based, of which it is not. These publicly stated words of Forrest Dunbar place into question his commitment too, and support of, his Oath of Office.
Were this just an isolated incident, there might not be great reason for concern. However, as you have seen with the rising violence and anti-government activities of the past year, many times these are not isolated incidents. In fact, Forrest Dunbar has openly supported involvement in violent riots against United States federal facilities, as he posted the following on Twitter:
Clearly, it is troubling that a military officer publicly supports, even encourages, family members participating in the violent riots in Portland last summer, which resulted in the tragic death of our fellow citizens and destruction of U.S Federal property.
In fact, it raises the question as to whether Forrest Dunbar violated the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, by having “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same (United States) or given aid and comfort to the enemies thereof,” by publicly supporting his sister and cousin in participating in the Portland riots.
If you conclude further inquiry into this matter is warranted, I would caution against referring this to the National Guard Bureau Inspector General Office. The current NGB/IG is Major General Laurie Hummel. MG Hummel was the previous Alaska National Guard Adjutant General, for which Forrest Dunbar worked as part of her Staff Judge Advocate Office.
Basic conflict of interest concerns alone would create suspicion that a fair and objective inquiry would be conducted if under the jurisdiction of his former commander, not to mention that she has also donated to his political campaign for mayor. Therefore, I would recommend that, should any inquiry into this matter be initiated by your office, it should be handled by the United States Army Inspector General’s Office.
The United States of America is the greatest nation ever created by humanity. While not perfect, it continually improves through the constitutional mechanisms written by our Founding Fathers. This constitutional republic provides the greatest freedoms and opportunities for anyone willing to make the effort to improve themselves and achieve the American dream.
Having a non-political defense organization is critical to being able to maintain the constitutional basis of our great nation. While everyone has the right to freedom of speech, those who join our military agree to limit their political speech when in uniform and should not express opinions that are in conflict to their Oath of Office.
I submit to you that Forrest Dunbar’s public statements create a conflict with his Oath of Office and therefore he should be removed from military service.
As you lead our nation’s defense forces through these turbulent times, I wish you all the best and God Speed in preserving the fundamental values of the United States of America.
Craig E. Campbell
Craig E. Campbell served on the Anchorage Assembly between 1986 and 1995 and later as Alaska’s Tenth Lieutenant Governor. He was the previous Chief Executive Officer and President for Alaska Aerospace Corporation. He retired from the Alaska National Guard as Lieutenant General (AKNG) and holds the concurrent retired Federal rank of Major General (USAF).