Monday, November 25, 2019

SecNav Fired

The Secretary of Defense has fired Richard Spencer from the position of Secretary of the Navy.

Good riddance.


  1. No lose. But I don't like the why of it. Rather than a house cleaning over the Ford and LCS. We look to have an affair de Seal. I'm not sure anyone will take the firing at cause of failed procurement.

  2. I won't miss him, either.

    CNO, what are your thoughts about Trump's actions in the personnel matters that led to SecNav's firing? I'm not up to speed on the trial or the circumstances surrounding it.

    1. I don't know enough about the details of the case (the evidence) to have an opinion on guilt/innocence but the circumstances surrounding it - the JAG misbehavior, the selective enforcement, command influence, etc. - are more than enough to warrant dismissal of the case.

    2. "...more than enough to warrant dismissal of the case. "

      And more than enough to warrant firing of everybody involved. This was little more than a witch hunt/lynch mob.

    3. I personally think that the Navy SEAL involved absolutely deserved to be fired.
      Putting aside politics, there are rules about the behaviour of soldiers in combat. There have to be.
      It's fairly obvious he violated those rules.
      At the least he's grossly unprofessional.

    4. "I personally think that the Navy SEAL involved absolutely deserved to be fired."

      There are two separate issues to this case. One is the alleged violations and the other is the handling of the case. I don't know the detailed evidence about the alleged violations so I have no opinion on that. However, the handling of the case was a gross miscarriage of justice with prosecutorial misconduct on a scale that's hard to believe. For that, the case warrants dismissal.

      Another aspect is that he was, ultimately, found guilty only of posing in the photo. There were ten other people posing in the photo and, to the best of my knowledge, none of them have been charged with posing. That's uneven application of the UCMJ, to say the least.

    5. It's a valid point that the application of the rules is uneven.
      This is a problem my own military is grappling with currently. Repeated tours of Afghanistan has strained the professional discipline of many units, including the elite units who have been exposed to two decades of a brutal insurgent campaign.

      Regardless, we have standards. The accusations against the SEAL came from within his own unit. I am obviously not in any better position to determine his guilt or innocence than you. However, if he has lost the confidence of his comrades, that alone is grounds enough for his dismissal from the unit, in my opinion (and that's all it is, an opinion).

      Military units need discipline. That's how they maintain their professional edge.

    6. "The accusations against the SEAL came from within his own unit."

      "if he has lost the confidence of his comrades, that alone is grounds enough for his dismissal from the unit,"

      The caution here is that we may be encountering a mere popularity issue. In today's society, which has filtered into the military, merely disliking someone now often leads to public accusations and recriminations. Navy Captains have lost their commands for trying to discipline on crews that then complain to higher authority. Higher authority, rather than deal with issue simply replace the Captain.

      It's possible that was the case here. The man may have been simply unpopular for some reason and people in his unit decided to 'get' him. I'm not saying this was case - I have knowledge about the specifics, at all. It's just a very plausible possibility so before we condemn him for losing the confidence of his comrades, we should learn whether it was a simple personality/popularity clash.

      General Patton was certainly not uniformly popular among his soldiers and in today's military probably would have had many complaints and been fired for loss of confidence.

      Lax discipline is clearly a widespread problem in the US Navy, in general, and is especially problematic in the SEALs, by their own official admission (witness the recent flag memo to that effect).

      So, be cautious about summarily dismissing this man.

  3. It really is time to clean house, across the board. Everybody who signed off on the Fords, the Zumwalts, or the LCSs needs to be fired. And probably everybody flag rank, and maybe lower, needs a good hard looking at. Depending on ow you count sips, we may or may not have more admirals than ships, but the fact that it's even close is patently absurd. I understand that we now have more people in the Pentagon than it took to win WWII. Why?

    The consulting firm McKinsey did an analysis of military expenditures of the OECD (developed) countries. It was online, I downloaded a copy, but it is no longer there so I can't link. The average military expenditure breakdown for all OECD was 14% combat, 23% combat support, and 63% administrative and other. That's bad enough, but the USA was worse--9% combat, 14% combat support, 77% admin and other. And that was while we were fighting a couple of wars in the Mideast.

  4. Good thoughts!! Hopefully we see a bit of a purge ensue here... Maybe its time for some staff and bureaucracy cuts to be written into the budget. I mean jeez, we are reactivating old Fleets, and for what?? You could cull these staffs by 50% easy. Streamline to 3 Fleets. PacFlt, LantFlt, and a subordinate EastLant to help deal with all the European liasing. FltComs, Type Commanders, and Squadrons... We could refill our manning issues, getting officers n sailors back to sea where they belong, instead of fetching someones coffee and picking up their dry cleaning. Plus we could fund a few maintenance availabilities with all the money spent on office space and paperclips....
    Im just immensely disturbed by how top heavy the USN is, especially when they can't seem to do much right any more...
    Ok. Rant over.

  5. As an aside, although this all stems from the Gallagher circus...frankly Id like to see the procurement issues take a larger part of the reasoning behind this... As a notice from on high that things must change...

    1. Trump did mention cost issues as one of the reasons for firing Spencer but I find it telling that no one in uniform did.

  6. Help me understand this. SecDef lost confidence because SecNav went around his back (or over his head?) to whom? POTUS or admin officials? I am having hard time understanding why SecDef also didn't resign out of frustration.
    I get the case was bungled, but that not why SecNav was forced to resign.

    1. " why SecNav was forced to resign."

      'Why', depends on who answers. SecDef says it's because he went around him instead of through the chain of command. Trump says it was because of his opposition to Trump's order to drop the review board and because of cost overruns, presumably on the Ford.

      The short of it was that Spencer managed to anger both SecDef and POTUS - that's not a recipe for keeping your job!

    2. I agree with above. Getting caught up in the seal thing might not have been a career killer but (x)SecNav's performance on the Hill was really probably job death. Attacking congress for oversight and failing to deliver a working Ford...

  7. X-SecNav failed to follow the CinCs' intent.
    The new SecNav was a PAO, he should be able to
    follow the tweets et al, and stay in messaging
    sync in the CinC.

    I would have picked the CEO of Thyssen-Krupp,
    they make submarines and elevators, addressing
    the Navy's weakness in shipbuilding and elevators.

  8. I hope CNO sent his resume to Trump.


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