But he is in every soldier's (and seaman's, and airman's) direct chain of command. In fact, the SecDef is the number 2 in the chain of command, immediately below the POTUS/CinC himself.
I am well aware of that, as I work within those paradigms professionally. I was addressing the posters previous who were opining on "generals" and what they say.
The good thing about the civil chain of command is that they can be voted out.