"...do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

"For the good of the Air Force, for the good of the armed services and for the good of our country, I urge you to reject convention and careerism..."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Maxwell AFB, April 21, 2008

"You will need to challenge conventional wisdom and call things like you see them to subordinates and superiors alike."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, United States Air Force Academy, March 4, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2022

CMSAF JoAnne Bass is Unfit for Office


In November of 2020, CMSAF JoAnne S. Bass responded to me on her official Facebook page to express her disagreement with my viewpoint.  She then censored my comments and banned me from the page.  Ironically, my deleted comments included the comment that the First Amendment does not permit those, like Chief Master Sergeant Bass, to censor people due to their viewpoints.  After my ban I sent several messages to Chief Bass asking her to comply with the Constitution in order to avoid a lawsuit and negative press directed at our Air Force.  While at least one of those messages did make its way to Chief Bass, and despite the "response requested" box on the message form checked, Chief Bass chose not to respond.

So I filed a federal lawsuit thanks to pro bono representation from the Center for Individual Rights which resulted in Chief Bass being directed to unban me from the page and to change the rules of the page to make it clear that people cannot be banned or censored due to their viewpoint.  Chief Bass failed to abide by the court-signed agreement in the agreed upon time frame but, after the Department of Justice was made aware of Bass' breach, she quickly reinstated my account access to her official page and I have been able to post several comments there so far.

As a result of the lawsuit and the actions of Chief JoAnne Bass, the Air Force has garnered some less than stellar media attention including an article in the Wall Street Journal, Stars and Stripes, the John Q Public Blog, on Military.Com, on at least one Substack, and on other media sites.  Interestingly, the Air Force Times did not cover the story.  The Free Speech Project at Georgetown also mentioned the litigation.

Eight days after my court-agreement, the DoD published its first ever social media policy, DOD5400.17 which states:

Social media account managers will not remove social media content from official DoD accounts unless there is a factual or typographical error; violation of a law, policy, term of service, or user agreement; or an operations or information security concern. Removal of content will be publicly acknowledged and communicated to audiences to provide context and appropriate clarification for the action; managers must persistently monitor, communicate, and, where appropriate, responsively engage with users regarding such removal. Removal of content can unintentionally discredit DoD information if the action appears to be taken to:

(1) Avoid embarrassment;

(2) Stifle or silence discussion about a controversial topic; or

(3) Mislead users to believe an issue is inconsequential or of minor significance

Chief Bass' actions have also resulted in continued negative commentary across social media from Facebook to Twitter to Reddit.  Even folks outside of the Air Force and DoD have taken note of Chief Bass, with one vlogger providing an excellent analysis of Chief Bass' "non-apology" for the "hats" smearing of a PJ, asking the critical question "where are the officers?" and calling Chief Bass the biggest "cyberbully" in the Air Force.  The main thrust of this commentary from digital military trenches is that Chief Bass is a net negative on social media, that she acts like a high school girl who refuses to admit fault, and that she was an unqualified pick for the position of CMSAF who is doing a poor job in that role. 

In my view, this depiction of Chief Bass is correct.  She is not qualified for the office she occupies and her selection for it was a gross error.  Chief Bass does not demonstrate the seriousness one would expect of a senior leader in a military service which is often, although not always, to be expected from an individual so far removed from the serious aspects of the core military mission.  Rather, CMSgt Bass consistently role models petulance, hypocrisy, gossip, and vindictiveness.  Her actions make a mockery of her office, invite ridicule from those she is meant to lead, and only reinforce her glaring insecurity which results in her decision making being further clouded.

Further, the fact that Chief Bass repeatedly demonstrates an inability to own up to her failures (to include violating the very Constitution of the United States she has sworn to support and defend, in full view of airmen) and given that she had to be dragged into complying with a court-order indicates that Chief Bass does not have the proper respect for authority, be it our supreme law or judicial processes that direct her to comply with the law.  As such, Chief Bass is wholly and completely unqualified for the position she finds herself in.  A person who does not respect the laws and judicial processes of the United States has absolutely no place in public service in any capacity, certainly not as the highest enlisted member in the Air Force.

Chief Master Sergeant JoAnne S. Bass should be removed from office immediately before she further damages the mission of the United States Air Force and the security of the United States.  This is an opportunity for General Charles Q. Brown, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, to role model leadership by fixing his mistake for the benefit of the service and the nation.  Chief Bass should not be allowed to "quietly" go into the night through retirement.  She needs to be removed with a quickness.  The thing about the double-edged sword of social media, which General Brown would be wise to remember, is that all airmen are watching what he condones and what steps he takes, or does not take, for accountability and for the service and nation as a whole.  Not for "Team 19" or for his personal friends.  For the service and, most importantly, for the nation.

Does General Charles Brown think his pick for CMSAF accurately represents and speaks for the backbone of our service?  Does he even care how well our enlisted force is represented?

That General Brown has not corrected his mistake of selecting this CMSAF after episode after episode of blunder from her and despite the calls from so many for her to be held accountable, calls into question General Brown's respect for our enlisted troops.  Perhaps he does not think it important for them to be accurately represented by somebody of quality?  If so, that also needs to be addressed.  Our enlisted men and women deserve better than an embarrassment to represent and speak for them.

13 Sept 22 UPDATE:  The Army's top enlisted leader's PA team banned a soldier on social media.  It was brought to his attention.  He quickly fixed it and drove on.  That's how it's done.  There are way more pressing issues to focus on than Day Care internet bullshit.  Leaders in the actual profession of arms understand that given our incredibly dangerous world.

6 Sept 22 UPDATE:  I am told that Chief Bass has uncensored my comments on her page that she previously hid from public view.

1 Sept 22 UPDATE 2:  Chief Bass' censorship-filter took out a response I made on her page.  So I split my response up into little bits and it all got through, except, interestingly enough, the phrase "...to add to the corporate distraction bread-for-the-masses..."  Why would Chief Master Sergeant Bass have an unconstitutional censorship filter set up to not allow the phrase "corporate distraction" or "bread-for-the-masses?"  The graphic below shows my commentary and the censored comments are highlighted.

1 Sep 22 UPDATE:
  Chief kicked off the new month with her usual disdain for our judicial system by censoring a comment from myself and from another retired special operator in response to her upcoming "coffee talk."  First I'll provide the comments that were not censored and then show the comments that were censored.  See if you can determine why those particular comments were not allowed by Chief Bass as it appears there is a theme here:

And these were the comments that were censored:

24 Aug 22 UPDATE:
  Today's breach of the court agreement when Bass censored this comment:

18 Aug 22 UPDATE:  Another day, another court-agreement violation by Chief Bass.  This response to Dave below has been censored from the official page:

17 Aug 22 UPDATE:
  My second comment was censored today on Chief Bass' page in breach of the court agreement.  It would appear that my comment was censored through a filter that auto-hides certain content (making it only visible to the person commenting and their FB friends).  I tried to investigate the particular terms that might have triggered the filter but could not isolate the term.  "China" does not appear to be the trigger, nor does the combination of "China" and "General Milley" so I'm not sure what about this comment below triggered Chief's auto-censorship filter.  I am sure, however, that these filters constitute a violation of the First Amendment as one federal court has already ruled:

My other comment response was not auto-censored, so there is something about the comment above that triggers the Chief's filter:

  Minutes after the exchange above, the comment from Stefano was hidden or deleted...

13 Aug 22 UPDATE:  Chief Bass is yet again in breach of the court agreement. Not only has she immediately censored a comment I made today on her official page, but she has also, in her latest post, hidden a comment from somebody else.  I can't see that individual's comment, so I have no ability to determine the merit of her decision to censor that person.  In my case, however, Chief Bass has yet again violated a court agreement; she has an apparently strong insurrectionist streak that doesn't recognize our laws or government judicial authority and she violates our laws with abandon.  This will be addressed shortly.  The comment about China, in response to a post from Bass about the Chinese military versus the American military and the importance of culture (which she hid from all but my Facebook friends) is reproduced below: