I posted the story on Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer getting his walking papers from his boss, Secretary of Defense Mark Espers. It seems that Spencer had cut some sort of deal whereby the commander of Naval Special Warfare Command Collin Green would get to hold a board to determine Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher’s fitness for continuation as a Special Warfare Operator. In return, the board would allow Gallgher to keep his SEAL Trident. In a monumental lack of candor, Spencer didn’t tell Espers about the deal and Espers found out when talking to the President about how to tamp this mutiny down.
My post was written based on a breaking news story from the Washington Post, that story buried the lede.
“Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper has asked for the resignation of Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer after losing trust and confidence in him regarding his lack of candor over conversations with the White House involving the handling of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher.
After Secretary Esper and Chairman Milley spoke with the Commander in Chief on Friday regarding the case of Gallagher, Secretary Esper learned that Secretary Spencer had previously and privately proposed to the White House – contrary to Spencer’s public position – to restore Gallagher’s rank and allow him to retire with his Trident pin. When recently asked by Secretary Esper, Secretary Spencer confirmed that despite multiple conversations on the Gallagher matter, Secretary Esper was never informed by Secretary Spencer of his private proposal.
Secretary Esper’s position with regard to UCMJ, disciplinary, and fitness for duty actions has always been that the process should be allowed to play itself out objectively and deliberately, in fairness to all parties. However, at this point, given the events of the last few days, Secretary Esper has directed that Gallagher retain his Trident pin. Secretary Esper will meet with Navy Undersecretary (now Acting Secretary) Thomas Modley and the Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday on Monday morning to discuss the way ahead.
“I am deeply troubled by this conduct shown by a senior DOD official.” said Secretary Esper. “Unfortunately, as a result I have determined that Secretary Spencer no longer has my confidence to continue in his position. I wish Richard well.”
Secretary Esper has proposed to the President that Ambassador Kenneth Braithwaite, current U.S. Ambassador to Norway and a retired Navy Rear Admiral, be considered as the next Secretary of the Navy.”
“…Secretary Esper has directed that Gallagher retain his Trident pin.” That’s it. Looks like the first phase of this nasty little episode is over.
Now we’re on to the second phase. We still have an admiral in San Diego who threw a public tantrum. Admiral Green was supposed to clean up the Naval Special Warfare community but his arrogance, petulance, and lack of professionalism indicate that he’s much more suited for the retired life. His uniformed bosses, both in San Diego and in the Pentagon, have also shown themselves a singularly inept at maintaining even a semblance of discipline. This mess will not be settled until there is a reckoning for them.