That time C-19 got SecNav

Because ActingSecNav is a shitty abbreviation

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I tried to steer clear of Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly and his ill-considered comments on his firing of Capt. Brett Crozier, former commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, but now that Modly himself has been fired, seems like now I have to have words on the man.


NAVAL BASE GUAM (April 7, 2020) Sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) move meals, ready to eat (MREs) for Sailors who have tested negative for COVID-19 and are asymptomatic at local hotels in an effort to implement social distancing and stop the spread of COVID-19. Sailors remain in quarantine in their assigned lodging for at least 14 days, in accordance with DoD directive and the Governor's executive order. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Julio Rivera/Released)

Because even in the Trump administration, you can’t get up in front of a bunch of sailors and tell them that what their beloved commander did was either “naive” or “stupid” and keep your job. Of course, no one really knows what you do have to do to keep your job in the Trump administration. Except be his favorite daughter, and I for one don’t have time for the hours of therapy that would have to ensue if that were the case.

I know shit about the Navy, and so I’d recommend reading this thread from Bryan McGrath, who does, for what I think is the most coherent take on this thing.

The country simply cannot have a Navy in which its commanders are freely communicating their concerns open-source, NO MATTER HOW RIGHT CROZIER WAS IN THIS PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCE.

Crozier's action got the attention he sought, good things are happening, and the crew is being taken care of. It cost him his command, but as I said, I suspect he knew it would. I honor his sacrifice and hope that the Navy continues to pick men and women for command who UNDER EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES do what is necessary to ensure the safety and readiness of their crew and their ship.

But the NORM must continue to be using the chain of command and appropriate networks and transmission paths. 

As to Modly’s firing? Also the right thing to do. And while one defense official characterized Modly’s comments as going “back to his roots as a sailor” (Modly flew Hueys for the Navy), the acting secretary forgot one thing: that once you leave, you’re not part of the club anymore.

You’re a suit in a uniformed world.

They’ll always have your back in a bar fight in Saigon, but telling them their last boss was dumb when they believed otherwise? Unwise.

Trump briefly implied he would get involved in Crozier’s firing, but has since walked that statement back. Which is good, since then he’ll have more time to convince himself that he’s really doing the best he can with this virus thing.