The sudden retirement of Adm. Bill Moran and withdrawal from the nomination to be Chief of Naval Operations means that there’s another huge vacancy at the top of the Defense Department. Navy Secretary Richard Spencer says that a new nominee will be named soon. Until then, the future is unclear for the sea service. Bryan Clark, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, says that these kinds of investigations are negatively impacting the workforce in the Pentagon.
“This has been a frustration among Pentagon leadership for the last several years, especially with regard to IG investigations, because what will happen is an investigation will get initiated, and sometimes that’s enough to cause an officer to lose his job or lose his or her rank and having to retire entirely,” Clark said. “The rules aren’t well defined in terms of what constitutes a fireable or an offense that prevent you from being nominated for a promotion or new position. It’s so vague that sometimes these investigations result in a somewhat ambiguous outcome.”
Seth Cropsey, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, says that the turn of events has dire consequences for the Navy’s culture.
“Chilling effect might be an understatement. Compare this world inside the Pentagon with the world that is sort of one foot in the Pentagon and one foot outside the Pentagon. You have a situation, for example, with Gen. Petraeus, who paid a $100,000 fine as a result of a court order, as a result of his having shared highly classified information with a girlfriend of his and last time I looked, Gen. Petraeus is on 27 boards,” Cropsey said. “He is sought out by everybody. He was considered for the position of Secretary of State in the Trump administration… and what he did was in terms of scale a lot bigger than what Cmdr. Servello did and got a letter of reprimand that was nonpunitive.”