The original question has already been answered, but for the Spanish military, the formula includes the integrity of the country as constitutionally ordained, and every other swearing-in formula I’m familiar with includes the law and may or may not mention the word “country” (some refer to “the people of Country”, making it clear who is it that receives the promise). So, the Tejerada: illegal and forsworn; letting Catalonia split by the “we not talking to you bullies any more!” method, depends on what the King tells them to do; letting any former-region split amicably, legal once the laws have been modified to allow such a split.
A country’s Consitution or equivalent is its highest law: military law will, must, always be under it.
As it was beaten into my head, the oath is one of allegiance, not to the President, but to the office of the President of the United States.
One of the specific ideas behind this is, that the can be no partisanship in one’s allegiance. A soldier must not decide that he will, or won’t, obey the President because the President is a Democrat, or a Republican, or a Socialist Kenyan Atheist, or whatever, or because one doesn’t like the President’s policies. That’s where MacArthur lost it.
My point wasn’t that no one would notice the difference, but rather that both the constitution and government are just as easy to replace by force in the scenario envisaged by Chefguy, so it doesn’t really matter which one of the two the military swears allegiance to.
If the “usurpers” take power in a manner contrary to the constitution and the consent of the governed, the new constitution is void and the oath does not create a bond to the de-facto government (as well as any newly-proclaimed regs and UCMJ) .
If the “usurpers” accede to power in accordance to the existing constitution and proceed to call a new convention as per the lawful process that existing constitution provides, with the consent of the governed, then … then they’re not legally usurpers, are they?
The allegiance isn’t to a constitution, it’s to the Constitution, that is, the one currently in effect. Unless the new constitution was established through means that were constitutional under the current document, there would be no requirement of allegiance to it (as JRDelirious says).
Remember that at the time period that this was drafted, the question of the rights and sovereignty of the individual states was a much more open question. In fact, after the failed Articles of Confederacy, the drafting of Constitution was an effort to define the scope of sovereignty of the states. Indeed, the primacy of one’s allegiance to one’s state or to the United States as a whole was somewhat unresolved until the conclusion of the Civil War.
When the drafters of the Constitution put in this clause, they wanted to make sure that all government officials, federal and state, recognized the authority of the Constitution they were drafting.
But more importantly, the member’s loyalty transfers to the new President every four years. We don’t swear loyalty to a specific individual, we are not required to re-take a new oath when a new President enters office, and there is no purge of the officer corps when a new President takes over. The peaceful transition of power is what helps America remain so stable, unlike other countries where the outgoing regime gets murdered or imprisoned.
Irrelevant. If the Constitution ceases to exist, then so does the authority from which Officers and other government officials derive their powers. Unlike a new President, a new Constitution would require the military to start over from scratch and the members would have to choose whether to take a new oath.
One final point: We specify that we will obey the orders of the President because the President is the highest member of the chain of command. The President only has the authority to lead the Army and appoint representatives (officers) because the Constitution gives him this authority. Unlike a Dictatorship, the President is not the source of authority. Rather, he himself is subordinate to the Constitution.