The U.S. Navy is suffering a crisis in leadership, both civilian and military. This situation is being manifested in several ways. Probably the most important are the rate of firings of commanding officers, the handling of Sailors’ interests, and the chaos in Navy ship procurement.
Commanding officers. During the past decade the commanding officers of Navy ships, air squadrons, and shore facilities have been relieved of duty at the rate of more than one per month. This past year, a total of 17 COs were relieved—the highest number since 2003, when 26 were relieved.
The causes for the relief of those COs—ten captains, six commanders, and one lieutenant commander—ranged from “inappropriate conduct” to solicitation of prostitution to ships colliding with a buoy and with a pier (see table). During the past decade just over one-third of dismissed COs were charged with “personal misconduct.” The next most common causes, in order, were “significant mishap,” “command climate,” and “command performance.”