Is the Navy's 'Fat Leonard' Scandal Damaging American Ties In The Pacific?

The Long March
The guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90), right, leads USS Stethem (DDG 63), the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) and USS Sampson (DDG 102) while transiting the Indo-Pacific in formation.
US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cole Schroeder

That’s the question that occurred to me as I read the annual survey in Proceedings of comments from the leaders of many of the world’s navies.


Usually, the world navy survey is mildly interesting stuff like the chief of the Royal Danish Navy reporting that his outfit has developed a mine countermeasures module that can be pretty much strapped onto any ship, military or civilian, turning it into a minesweeper. Nice idea, but nothing to write home about. (Unless you’re the guy voluntold to sweep mines.)

But then I saw the comment filed by Rear Adm. John Martin, chief of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN):

The foundation of the RNZN’s approach to relationships is trust. You cannot surge trust: you have to build and nurture it. Given our geographic isolation and multiple tasks, our opportunity to influence partners through direct naval operations is limited. We must build and maintain trust so that our people and ships are accepted readily worldwide, and the value of our contribution is maximized. New Zealand and the RNZN are trustworthy partners. Recently New Zealand ranked tied for first on the Corruption Perceptions Index of 2016, alongside Denmark. We also came first on the Government Defense Anti-Corruption Index. As a military organization we demonstrate our integrity on the global stage. Developing trust starts with personal integrity.

(My emphasis.)

Hmm, interesting message to send for publication in the U.S. Navy’s professional magazine.

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