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Navy chief nominee wants to ‘quickly and firmly’ deal with Navy SEAL scandals

Then-Vice Adm. Mike Gilday, commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet listens to Sailors assigned to Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Colorado/Task Force 1080. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert A. Hartland/Released)
August 02, 2019

The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) nominee said on Wednesday that he vows to “quickly and firmly” resolve scandals rocking the Navy SEALs.

Vice Adm. Michael Gilday told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that he was anxious to review some ongoing investigations involving alleged misbehavior, the Navy Times reported.

“Ethics is a particularly important point for me and that begins at the top of my leadership and extends through all of the flag officers as well as our commanders, right down through the chief petty officers,” Gilday said. “Every day we go to work, we bring our values with us. It is especially important in combat that those values be maintained.”

Amid the controversies surrounding the Navy, some that include sexual assault, Gilday told senators he is “committed to the idea that we need people with dignity and respect.”

“Physical violence, sexual assault have no place in the Navy,” he added.

Gilday was nominated July 11 to become the next CNO after the abrupt retirement of the former nominee, Adm. Bill Moran, on July 8, according to the Navy Times. Just 25 days after being confirmed the next CNO, Moran retired for being involved in a professional relationship with Chris Servello, a former Naval public affairs employee involved in a sexual harassment scandal.

“My decision to maintain this relationship was in no way an endorsement or tacit approval of this kind of conduct,” Moran said. “I understand how toxic it can be to any team when inappropriate behavior goes unrecognized and unchecked. Every sailor is entitled to serve in an environment free of harassment or intimidation.”

Despite a rocky start to find current CNO Adm. John Richardson’s replacement, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee spoke highly of Gilday’s qualifications and leadership.

“It has never been more important that our Navy have principled leaders who promote respect throughout the ranks, and adhere to a moral code that can serve as an example to all our sailors and Marines,” said committee ranking member, Sen. Jack Reed. “We all expect and demand that you will be that leader.”

Other scandals involving the Navy include the court-martial trial of U.S. Navy SEAL Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher. The Navy accused Gallagher of murder and attempted murder, and was accused of fatally stabbing an ISIS prisoner reportedly on May 3, 2017.

Gallagher was found not guilty on July 2.

In another scandal within the Navy on July 24, a Navy SEAL platoon was kicked out of Iraq after it was accused of inappropriate behavior, including drinking, fraternization and sexual assault, the New York Times reported.

“There were allegations of wrongdoing, and the commander initiated an investigation, which is still ongoing,” said a spokesman for Special Operations Command, Ken McGraw. “After the investigation began, the commander lost confidence in the platoon’s ability to accomplish the mission and ordered the platoon’s redeployment.”