Top five leadership qualities to see in a commander-in-chief

Arguably, the top five qualities of a good leader are honesty, confidence, communication, the ability to inspire, and tact. Honesty and trust go hand in hand. Politicians are notorious for not having either of these qualities, which is a reason why America is just plain angry with the establishment. Without confidence, a leader will not be trusted. No one will follow a leader, or a president for that matter, that lacks the confidence to do the job.

Donald Trump’s comments about ordering warfighters under him to do unlawful acts, made me angry as a veteran. He since disavowed them. Regardless, the incident inspired me to do a deep dive on all the candidates – Democrat and Republican – still in the race and where they stand on defense and being .

“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile,” said Vince Lombardi.

Who of the following candidates was made with the above? Any, at all? Below are the six currently running for president and their views on defense taken from their campaign websites.

Ohio Governor John Kasich served 18 years on the . His plan for the military is to increase defense spending and improve cyberdefense resources, which includes countering jihadis among other opponents online. Kasich wants to work with our allies to develop a coordinated response against . He wants to rebuild the military from the ground up by transforming the procurement processes and get new weapon systems on the field. Under his time as commander-in-chief, Kasich wants to strength our relationship with Israel and support our allies including Ukraine and Egypt.

The outsider and independent, Bernie Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist. He served as Mayor of Vermont for four terms and got elected into the U.S. Senate in 2007 and was re-elected in 2012. He serves in the following committees: the Committee on ; the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; the Committee on Veterans Affairs, the Joint Economic Committee, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, and the Energy & Natural Resources Committee. His is driven by policy and will make every effort to reach peace before starting a war. He will expand America’s influence around the world through fair trade, promoting human rights, providing humanitarian relief and economic assistance, and defending the rule of law. He also wants to close down Guantanamo Bay.

Marco Rubio comes from a Cuban-immigrant family and has been considered Jeb Bush’ mentee in the past. Florida Senator Marco Rubio belonged to the “,” who helped craft the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 bill. He belongs to committees including: the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and the Committee on Foreign Relations.

His detailed plan on his website explains how he will restore military strength by focusing on returning to the 2012 budget baseline. He wants to build a “full spectrum” force to maintain security. Highlights include increasing our numbers in the Armed Forces, investing in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance () capabilities, increasing the Navy’s presence at sea, modernizing missile defense, improving the acquisition process that would include the removal of “barriers and strengthen exemptions for commercial acquisitions allowing the Pentagon to leverage cutting edge , such as , computing, 3-D printing, and .”

Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state from 2009 – 2013. The lasting impressions from her service as secretary of state are Benghazi and an e-mail scandal. To her credit, she takes full responsibility for Benghazi. Her resume also includes being First Lady and senator. She has been active for years within the political arena and understands how do deal with the policies and regulations set in place. As commander-in-chief she would make “sure that our military is on the cutting edge.” She will not allow “Iran to acquire nuclear weapons” and she would “defeat ISIS, hold China accountable,” and stand up to Russia. Clinton also notes that she will leverage the work of public and private sectors to help defend against cyberattacks.

Canadian born, Ted Cruz became the solicitor general of Texas in 2003. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012 and in 2014 he renounced his dual Canadian citizenship. As commander-in-chief, Ted Cruz would increase military personnel – expand military presence in key areas around the world. He would increase the defense budget “through significantly accelerating economic growth through sweeping tax and regulatory reform; cutting spending; and selling Federal assets and properties.” His plan for national defense also includes defending the nation from cyberattacks. Ted Cruz states, “our military strength must be matched by our ability to operate across multiple, non-kinetic domains that include space, and information.”

Donald Trump is a business leader and a reality TV star. His plan as commander-in-chief: “I will make our military so big, powerful, and strong that no one will mess with us.”


Would you follow any of these six into battle? Do you feel they would have your back and that of the sailor, marine, soldier, or airman next to you?

Being commander-in-chief is not about being politically correct. It’s about being a decent human being that can see the big picture as a whole. Those of us who have served as well as those still wearing the uniform don’t want a leader that spouts words that make a sentence or half of one. They want a leader of action. They want a leader where they can feel at peace knowing they might die for their cause one day. They want a leader that knows that the orders they give are lawful, but more importantly that they are morally right.

Please keep this in mind when you head to the voting booth this year.