The U.S. military must start making preparations for another "insurrection" after the 2024 election, according to a trio of retired military generals.
An op-ed published by the Washington Post on Friday called for action amid growing concern among former senior officials about the "potential for lethal chaos inside our military" in a flash of violence that could eclipse the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.
Multiple courses of action were advised by Paul Eaton, a retired U.S. Army major general and a senior adviser to VoteVets, Antonio Taguba, a retired Army major general with 34 years of active duty service, and Steven Anderson, a retired brigadier general who served in the Army for 31 years. They warned of the possibility of "civil war" resulting from a "military breakdown" due to splits in loyalty.
"First, everything must be done to prevent another insurrection. Not a single leader who inspired it has been held to account. Our elected officials and those who enforce the law — including the Justice Department, the House select committee and the whole of Congress — must show more urgency," they wrote.
JAN. 6 PANEL SUBPOENAS RETIRED ARMY COLONEL WHO CIRCULATED 'COUP POWERPOINT'
The op-ed notes more than 1 in 10 of those charged in the attack on the Capitol nearly a year ago had a service record. They also said a group of 124 retired military officials, under the name “Flag Officers 4 America,” released a letter echoing former President Donald Trump’s "false attacks on the legitimacy of our elections."
With the Jan. 6 committee investigation still underway, the retired generals said the military cannot wait for elected officials to take action.
"The Pentagon should immediately order a civics review for all members — uniformed and civilian — on the Constitution and electoral integrity," the trio said. "There must also be a review of the laws of war and how to identify and deal with illegal orders. And it must reinforce 'unity of command' to make perfectly clear to every member of the Defense Department whom they answer to. No service member should say they didn’t understand whom to take orders from during a worst-case scenario."
"In addition," they wrote, "all military branches must undertake more intensive intelligence work at all installations. The goal should be to identify, isolate and remove potential mutineers; guard against efforts by propagandists who use misinformation to subvert the chain of command; and understand how that and other misinformation spreads across the ranks after it is introduced by propagandists."
"Finally, the Defense Department should war-game the next potential post-election insurrection or coup attempt to identify weak spots. It must then conduct a top-down debrief of its findings and begin putting in place safeguards to prevent breakdowns not just in the military, but also in any agency that works hand in hand with the military," the three retired generals said.
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The select House committee investigating the Capitol riot is looking into the circumstances that surrounded Jan. 6, the day hundreds of people stormed the U.S. Capitol complex, disrupting lawmakers as they certified President Joe Biden's 2020 win. So far, dozens of people have been subpoenaed, and members say hundreds more have cooperated with the inquiry.
Meanwhile, more than 700 people have been arrested and charged with crimes associated with the siege of Congress.