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The head of Naval Special Warfare Command reportedly sent a letter to commanders on July 25 proclaiming that "we have a problem," while urging them to detail what issues they see and provide recommendations by Aug. 7 on how to get the SEAL community off the skyline.
"I don't know yet if we have a culture problem," Rear Adm. Colin Green wrote in a letter to the command. "I do know that we have a good order and discipline problem that must be addressed immediately."
"Some of our subordinate formations have failed to maintain good order and discipline and as a result and for good reason," the culture of the SEALs "is being questioned," he added.
Green sent the letter amid a number of high-profile scandals involving SEALs — a community of elite operators numbering less than 2,500 personnel among a force of more than 437,000 active-duty and reserve sailors. The existence of the letter was first reported by CNN's Barbara Starr.
Additionally, Vice Adm. Michael Gilday vowed to identify the "root causes" of ethical concerns among SEALs during a confirmation hearing on Wednesday. If confirmed, Gilday will take over as the chief of naval operations.
Among the issues that have come to light in recent years were the nearly dozen SEALs booted from the service after testing positive for drugs in 2018, as well as others being investigated or brought to trial on murder charges. As Navy Times' reporter Geoff Ziezulewicz noted, other SEALs have been charged with allegedly abusing prisoners in Afghanistan; another was sentenced to nearly 30 years in prison for producing images of child sexual abuse in Feb. 2018. That same sailor was sentenced to an additional 60 years for child molestation on Tuesday.
More recently, the entirety of SEAL Team 7 Foxtrot Platoon was pulled out of Iraq last month amid allegations of a boozy Fourth of July party and an allegation of sexual assault, and Navy Times' revealed several members of SEAL Team 10 were using cocaine and other drugs regularly. SEALs were also involved in the hazing death of a Green Beret in Mali, one of whom is now being investigated for allegedly trying to flirt with and manipulate the victim's widow.
And despite the acquittal of former SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher on murder charges in early July, his court-martial revealed that members of his unit, SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon, constructed their own rooftop bar in Iraq and engaged in other alleged misconduct on deployment.
"We are looking hard as a learning organization to self assess to see, are we assessing and selecting the right people? Are we holding them accountable to standards of honor, courage, and commitment?" Green told the audience at the West 2019 conference, in response to a question from Task & Purpose in February.
Green's acknowledgement that there is indeed a problem stands in stark contrast to a March report to Congress from Special Operations Command, which found there were no "gaps in the administration, oversight, or management of ethics programs or professionalism programs."
You can read the letter below:
The command chief of the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, was removed from his position last month after his chain of command received evidence he disrespected his subordinates.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
The "suck it up and drive on" mentality permeated our years in the U.S. military and often led us to delay getting both physical and mental health care. As veterans, we now understand that engaging in effective care enables us not just to survive but to thrive. Crucially, the path to mental wellness, like any serious journey, isn't accomplished in a day — and just because you need additional or recurring mental health care doesn't mean your initial treatment failed.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called on the security alliance's allies to maintain and strengthen their "unity," saying the organization is "the only guarantor of European and transatlantic security."
Stoltenberg told reporters on November 19 that NATO "has only grown stronger over the last 70 years" despite "differences" among the allies on issues such as trade, climate, the Iran nuclear deal, and the situation in northeastern Syria.
He was speaking at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels on the eve of a NATO foreign ministers meeting aimed at finalizing preparations for next month's summit in London.
WASHINGTON — More than $35 million of the roughly $400 million in aid to Ukraine that President Donald Trump delayed, sparking the impeachment inquiry, has not been released to the country, according to a Pentagon spending document obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Instead, the defense funding for Ukraine remains in U.S. accounts, according to the document. It's not clear why the money hasn't been released, and members of Congress are demanding answers.
The admiral in charge of Navy special operators will decide whether to revoke the tridents for Eddie Gallagher and other SEALs involved in the Navy's failed attempt to prosecute Gallagher for murder, a defense official said Tuesday.
The New York Times' David Philipps first reported on Tuesday that the Navy could revoke the SEAL tridents for Gallagher as well as his former platoon commander Lt. Jacob Portier and two other SEALs: Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch and Lt. Thomas MacNeil.
The four SEALs will soon receive a letter that they have to appear before a board that will consider whether their tridents should be revoked, a defense official told Task & Purpose on condition of anonymity.