General Ed Barrie was a high-ranking officer in the United States Army. Upset with what he felt was a lack of funding and training in the United States Military, he choose to blast the Bartlet Administration before retiring from duty. He was summoned to The White House, but sent an aide, Lt. Buckley instead.
C.J. Cregg sent Buckley back to Barrie with a message that called him a coward. Barrie burst into C.J.'s office, livid at the insult. During the meeting, C.J. revealed that he had never earned the Distinguished Combat Service Medal he was wearing. However, later Jed Bartlet told C.J. to cut Barrie loose and allow him to go on television. The President's reasoniing was that a serving officer was entitled to his opinion, and to air it, particularly when the President himself had never been in the Armed Forces.