No communications firm, pressed to design a case study on public-relations disasters, could likely top the Navy’s recent bungling of a coronavirus epidemic on the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the firing of the aircraft carrier’s outspoken commander, Captain Brett Crozier. Crozier gained fame for his three-and-a-half-page memo pleading for the service to evacuate its crew from the ship, where safe isolation of the crew was impossible. His civilian boss, then-acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, gained notoriety for relieving Crozier of command, making an ill-advised quarter-million-dollar trip to board the Roosevelt dockside in Guam, trashing Crozier to his crew as “too naïve or too stupid to be a commanding officer,” and ultimately resigning his own post amid the backlash.
As the number of infected sailors among the Roosevelt’s crew rose this weekend past 550, a majority of the blame for the saga’s most ridiculous moments continues to fall on Modly. But this crisis was ultimately not of his own making. He merely brought to light the deepening dysfunction within the Department of Defense brought about by collapsing norms of civil-military relations.
Read the full article in The New Republic.
More from CNAS
CommentaryJustice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the U.S. Military
Today’s military has become more equitable since the start of the all-volunteer force in 1972. Much of that progress has been due to Ginsburg....
By Emma Moore & Robert Levinson
VideoVanessa Guillen's Killing Gives Way to Claims of Sexual Harassment, Abuse in the Military, and Hope for Change
The disappearance of 20-year-old soldier Vanessa Guillén began badly and ended horribly worse. The private first class vanished on an April Sunday, in broad daylight, from For...
By Kayla M. Williams
CommentaryHarnessing Military Talent to Compete in the 21st Century
Developments in technology mean that the DoD must update its processes to attract, recruit, and harness talent to apply skill sets where they are most needed....
By Emma Moore
CommentaryIf the Military Can't Handle Its Sexual Assault Problem, Congress Needs to Step In
Should the DoD continue failing at comprehensively and effectively addressing sexual violence, Congress must intervene more robustly....
By Katie Galgano & Emma Moore