The commodore of a U.S. Navy amphibious squadron has been relieved of duty this week, according to the Navy. Capt. James Harney, the head of Amphibious Squadron 5, was removed from command due to a “loss of confidence” in his “ability to perform his duties,” the Navy announced the evening of Friday, Dec. 1.

That’s a common, vague reason given by the U.S. Navy in response to these firings.

“Navy leaders are held to high standards of personal and professional conduct, both on and off duty,” the Navy said in a statement on Harney’s removal. “They are expected to uphold the highest standards of responsibility, reliability, and leadership, and the Navy holds them accountable when they fall short of those standards.”

Harney is being reassigned to the office of the Pacific Fleet’s Naval Surface Force. Capt. Tate Robinson is taking over leadership of Amphibious Squadron 5 for the time being, although the Navy did not specify if that was a permanent posting. No additional details were given for Harney’s removal.

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Amphibious Squadron 5, based out of San Diego and part of the Pacific fleet, oversees the ships and transports needed for an amphibious readiness group, in this case, the Boxer ARG. 

A native of Kentucky, Harney earned his commission in 1996 from the U.S. Naval Academy. Prior to this command, he had served aboard the USS Chosin, USS McFaul, and USS Russell among others. His deployments saw involvement in operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and Inherent Resolve. His personal awards include various naval and campaign commendations as well as the Legion of Merit. He took command of Amphibious Squadron 5 in June 2023. His predecessor led the unit for only three months, taking over in March 2023 before leaving the post for his retirement. 

Harney is the latest in a series of U.S. Navy vessel, unit, and facility commanders who were relieved of duty this year. In many cases, no explanation was given beyond a vague “loss of confidence.” 

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