“Those of us privileged to serve our Nation, in and out of uniform, in the DoD must be the epitome of American values and ethics. Our mission, to protect and defend the Nation, is apolitical,” Shanahan wrote in one of Tuesday’s memos.
“I call on leaders at all levels in the Department to reinforce the apolitical nature of military and civilian service and professionalism, while ensuring all personnel remain free to exercise the responsibilities of citizenship as laws and regulations allow,” he added.
Following the USS John McCain controversy, Shanahan repeatedly insisted that “there’s no room for politicizing the military” — a point he again emphasized in Tuesday’s memos to DoD personnel.
“Our business is to run military operations and not to become politicized,” Shanahan told reporters in May during a news conference in Singapore. “I’ll wait until I get a full explanation of the facts before I pass judgment on the situation, but our job is to run the military.”
Separately, a defense official said there has not yet been a final decision on whether anyone in the military will be reprimanded for asking the Navy to undertake a politically-motivated action to hide the ship.
Trump and McCain, who was the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, were frequently at odds before and during Trump’s presidency, and attacks against John McCain from the President did not stop after the Arizona senator’s death last August.