While Navy leaders want to reinstate the former commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt immediately, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has recommended that the Navy first provide answers to all of the questions that top military leaders have, Task & Purpose has confirmed.
Capt. Brett Crozier was fired on April 2, shortly after the San Francisco Chronicle published a leaked copy of his memo warning his superiors that sailors aboard the aircraft carrier would die unless most of the crew were placed into individual quarantine
Lara Seligman of Politico first reported on Saturday that Army Gen. Mark Milley wants the Navy to conduct a deeper inquiry into Crozier’s firing, and that has delayed Crozier from being reinstated as the Theodore Roosevelt’s commanding officer, as Navy leaders have recommended.
But a senior defense official told Task & Purpose that Milley has not delayed anything.
“The story is drawing a divide where one doesn't exist,” the senior defense official said on Monday. “The chairman providing his best military advice that all parties should ensure the inquiry is as thorough as it needs to be and has answered all relevant questions is not holding anything up, nor is it indicative of a split, as the story portrays.”
It is the latest development in the ever-shifting tale of why Crozier was relieved of command.
Then-Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly claimed that Crozier had shown poor judgment in a crisis by sending his memo to up to 30 recipients; however, Washington Post reporters Dan Lamothe and Shawn Boburg later revealed it was sent to only 11 people within his chain of command at U.S. Pacific Fleet.
The Pentagon has announced that Defense Secretary Mark Esper wants to read a written copy of the Navy’s preliminary inquiry into the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak aboard the Theodore Roosevelt before talking to Navy leaders about what actions should be taken.
On Friday, Esper received a verbal update from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday about the preliminary inquiry, which “covered a complex timeline of communications between naval officers, as well as response efforts spanning a dozen time zones and multiple commands,” a senior defense official said.
“Given the importance of the topic and the complex nature, the secretary is going to read the full written report,” said the defense official, who was not authorized to speak for the record during the ongoing inquiry. “Although many in the media are focused on one aspect of the initial inquiry – it is in fact about far more than one person.”