Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Army Secretary Eric Fanning visited Comedy Central's The Daily Show With Trevor Noah on November 10th for an exclusive interview.James and Fanning explain to Noah the concept of civilian control of the military and James describes their roles as "CEOs" of their respective branches. They discuss the demise of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the upcoming presidential transition. It's most a serious interview but Noah does ask them about President-elect Trump's campaign claim that he's the "best at military" ("Direct quote," insists Noah).
James and Fanning explain the chain of command to civilians, noting that they both report directly to the Secretary of Defense Ash Carter but each has enjoyed the opportunity to brief President Obama directly.
Noah doesn't let up. He brings up another campaign promise from President-elect to "kill the families of the terrorists" and his refusal to back down when he was told that the military wouldn't carry out an illegal order, even if it was from the president. Fanning refuses to engage in politics and notes that, while the military serves at the direction of civilian leadership, there are plenty of lawyers at the Pentagon who make sure the armed forces follow the law.
The interview ends with a plea from both James that the military should continue to recruit the best talent and that a diverse armed forces makes America stronger. Fanning talks about Veterans Day and how Americans should remember their obligation to the men and women who serve.
Check out the entire interview below.