Defense Against Enemies, Foreign and Domestic
By Patrick Knight - January 15, 2018
“I, _, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will 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…”
This is a portion of an oath I took many years ago when joining the United States Army and afterwards in government service. Its origins point to Article VI of the US Constitution and is codified in Article 5, US Code 3331 as an oath of federal service.
Although I left government service nearly twenty years ago, I had never given the entirety of the wording of this oath much thought. It is easy for most people to visualize defending against foreign enemies. It is against external known and unknown threats where we devote most defense assets in nearly all aspects of life.
The inclusion of defense against domestic threats in this oath points to our Civil War and the desire to keep intact something that is fragile and worth defending against internal attempts to break our union apart – to protect against insurrection or destruction from within.
The service I gave willingly undeniably led to my career fighting against cyber threats. In fact, I have spent my entire adult career in a security profession in one manner or another and continue to do so to this day.
This weekend our country will celebrate our veterans who served mainly to defend against foreign enemies but who stood ready and swore also to protect against domestic threats as well. It is my sincerest desire that we must defend against neither but that we are prepared to defend against both.
I want to thank our veterans and those currently serving their country. In an uncertain and dangerous world, that service is something to be proud of and very much needed.