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Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s commanding officer relieved for loss of confidence

Capt. Kai Torkelson, commander of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony for the renovation of Dry Dock 4 on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, in Portsmouth, Va. (Kaitlin McKeown / Daily Press/TNS)
September 22, 2020

Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s commander, Capt. Kai Torkelson, has been relieved of his post due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command, Naval Sea Systems Command announced Monday evening.

The announcement gave no further details.

But NAVSEA spokesman Rory O’Connor told Navy Times that Torkelson’s relief reflected a loss of confidence in his ability to fix underlying performance issues.

Those performance issues affected Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s ability to meet ship maintenance schedules, O’Connor added.

Rear Adm. Howard Markle, who is director of NAVSEA’s industrial operations directorate, has stepped in as the acting commander until a permanent relief is named.

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Torkelson assumed command of Norfolk Naval Shipyard in June 2018. He previously served as the Carrier/Submarine/Ship Fleet Readiness Requirements Officer in the Chief of Naval Operations Staff Logistics Division and as Assistant Deputy/Commander Maintenance, Modernization, Environment and Safety at NAVSEA.

He was commissioned from the Virginia Military Institute Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps in 1991.

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