Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Official Says Navy SEALs Testing Positive For Drugs And Other Infractions Are ‘Isolated Incidents’
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."
Over the last six months, 10 SEALs were booted from the service after testing positive for drugs, two senior leaders were relieved following allegations of sexual misconduct, and reports broke that an operator is in the brig while under investigation after allegedly executing an Iraqi detainee.
"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."
This article originally appeared on Military.com
Read more from Military.com
- America's War With Afghanistan Enters 18th Year
- Low-Rated Schools Scare Troops Away From Alabama Air Force Base
- US Envoy for Afghan Peace in Kabul for Talks on Taliban
Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.
The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.
During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.
"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."
"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."
Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.
Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed confidence on Sunday in the U.S. military justice system's ability to hold troops to account, two days after President Donald Trump pardoned two Army officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan.
Trump also restored the rank of a Navy SEAL platoon commander who was demoted for actions in Iraq.
Asked how he would reassure countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq in the wake of the pardons, Esper said: "We have a very effective military justice system."
"I have great faith in the military justice system," Esper told reporters during a trip to Bangkok, in his first remarks about the issue since Trump issued the pardons.
For one veteran who fought through the crossfires of German heavy machine guns in the D-Day landings, receiving a Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of his service and that of his World War II comrades would be "quite meaningful."
Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to award the Army Rangers of World War II the medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by the United States, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
An airman at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base was arrested and charged with murder on Sunday after a shooting at a Raleigh night club that killed a 21-year-old man, the Air Force and the Raleigh Police Department said.