Why GOP national security experts must agree to serve in a Trump administration

I know you worry deeply about working for a man you dislike and distrust. Remember, however, that you would be serving the American people and the country. It can be done.

To succeed, you will have to be prepared to speak truth to power, and then to be ignored, overruled, dissed and otherwise embarrassed. The people in charge may not be principled or capable and, including in Trump’s case, perhaps even disparaging of those around them and working for them. In other words, the gig may test your capacity for abuse. Be prepared to resign or otherwise walk off the job after careful calculation of the pros and cons of helping the country vs. going home to lick one’s wounds. The only people who can’t resign in the national security community are the most senior military leaders, because to do so would violate their core professional obligations, akin to an emergency-room doctor walking away from a patient in need.

You will also have to inquire carefully about the conditions of service. Trump is known for requiring nondisclosure agreements from his employees. You may have to measure a promise to go home in silence against what may be a need to alert the country to problems and perils of the administration — in other words, the balance between loyalty and discretion on the one hand and blowing the whistle on the other. And think through beforehand how you would handle being asked to do something illegal, immoral, unethical or just plain stupid.