The Department of Defense is currently conducting a broad review of the entire U.S. Special Operations Command apparatus in response to a growing number of alarming incidents ranging from alleged war crimes to deliberate fratricide, Army Times reports.
“Recent incidents in our formation have called our ethics and professionalism into question, and threaten to undermine the trust bestowed on us by the American people and our senior leadership,” Army Special Operations Command chief Lt. Gen. Francis Beaudette stated in a Nov. 29 memo, according to Army Times.
Those incidents include, among others:
- The alleged stranglingmurder of Army Green Beret Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar by Two Navy SEALs and two Marine Special Forces Special Operations personnel in June 2017.
- The alleged execution of a 15-year-old ISIS prisoner, wounded in a U.S.-backed artillery strike, in which a 19-year Navy SEAL allegedly stabbed the prisoner in the neck with a hunting knife and posed with the body.
- The alleged smuggling of 90 pounds of cocaine from Colombia to the United States by a Green Beret.
- The alleged murder and cover-up of unarmed Afghan man by a Green Beret after a local tribal leader made the unsubstantiated claim that he had built a bomb that killed Marines.
- The dismissal of 10 Navy SEALs and another sailor involved with Naval Special Warfare for testing positive for cocaine and methamphetamines.
- The relief of two senior SEAL leaders following separate allegations into sexual misconduct.
- The alleged rape of two young girls by a Green Beret.
While the Navy's second-highest civilian leader in October asserted that the string of incidents that have wracked the naval special warfare community in particular in recent months is not "indicative of a cultural problem," a Congressional Research Service report published later that month identified “growing congressional concern with misconduct, ethics, and professionalism" in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, per Army Times.
“It is incumbent upon our leadership down to the team-room level to intensify our emphasis on [Army special operations forces] values and character,” Beaudette said, according to Army Times. “Service is a privilege, and this privilege is grounded in a culture of accountability and professionalism that extends far beyond program compliance."