The Navy Department's second-highest civilian leader says a recent string of alleged misconduct in the naval special warfare ranks is not indicative of a wider cultural problem in the elite community.
Navy Undersecretary Thomas Modly told reporters Thursday that while service leaders are concerned about recent high-profile allegations of wrongdoing in the Navy SEAL community, there's nothing that "is indicative of a cultural problem."
"We're a huge enterprise and so, as a huge enterprise, we have problems just like every other huge enterprise," he said at a Defense Writers' Group event in Washington. "So when these types of problems arise, we have very, very good processes to go through a legal adjudication of them, and I think we do that very well."
"These obviously are high-profile because they do come from our most elite warfighting areas, but my sense is that we don't have a cultural problem there," Modly said. "Obviously, we're concerned about it -- it doesn't reflect well on the service. But these are fairly isolated incidents."
SEALs make up a small fraction of the Navy, with just 2,700 serving on active duty as of 2015, along with about 800 special-warfare combatant craft crewmen, who deliver them to and extract them from their missions, according to Defense Department data.
While Modly said he doesn't have any data to support the idea that SEALs aren't committing more misconduct than special operators in other services, his impression is that the Navy's elite aren't faring any worse than Army, Air Force or Marine Corps commandos.
"This also could be a result of 17 years of being at war in stressful conditions," he said, a sentiment several members of Congress shared last year during a special-operations policy forum.
"How many missions can you send them on?" Rep. Adam Smith, D- Washington, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, asked then. "How many times can they do this? I think that's what we don't know."
Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer issued an administrative message to all sailors and Marines this week reminding them to "never look the other way or abuse the power given to you, to act with integrity, and to endeavor to do the right thing always."
"I expect every Navy and Marine Corps team member to act with integrity and play the ethical midfield at all times," he wrote. "Remember, each and every one of us is accountable for our actions and decisions each and every day."
In this March 12, 2016, file photo, Marines of the U.S., left, and South Korea, wearing blue headbands on their helmets, take positions after landing on a beach during the joint military combined amphibious exercise, called Ssangyong, part of the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises, in Pohang, South Korea. (Associated Press/Yonhap/Kim Jun-bum)
Joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises scheduled for next month are going ahead, a top Seoul official said Saturday, despite a threat by North Korea to boycott working-level talks with Washington and possibly restart nuclear and longer-range missile tests.
(Reuters) - A former National Security Agency contractor was sentenced in Maryland to nine years in prison on Friday for stealing huge amounts of classified material from U.S. intelligence agencies over two decades though officials never found proof he shared it with anyone.
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Britain has called Iran's capture of the Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday a "hostile act".