Navy Secretary Fired

| November 25, 2019

Well, it seems as if the infamous “loss of trust and confidence” has happened again. This time it involves the SECDEF losing trust and confidence in the SECNAV – and firing him.

Here’s why. Per this AP story, apparently the SECNAV is alleged to have proposed privately a deal to the POTUS regarding CWO CPO Gallagher. That deal would have allowed CPO Gallagher to retire both at his current rank and without loss of his SEAL Trident.

There’s just one problem. According to the SECDEF, it appears the SECNAV didn’t bother to inform him about his backchannel prosal to the POTUS. Previously, the SECDEF had backed the SECNAV regarding allowing the Navy’s admin processes against CPO Gallagher to run their course. The SECNAV thus undercut his own boss in clandestinely proposing the deal.

However, in public comments two days ago the SECNAV strongly implied he was still in favor of proceeding with administrative processes against CPO Gallagher. Specifically, the SECNAV .stated publicly that he didn’t consider tweets from the POTUS to be directive in nature and would need a Presidential order to stop admin proceedings against CPO Gallagher.

As a result, the SECDEF fired the SECNAV for “lack of candor”.

The linked AP article goes on to say that the SECDEF has further decided that CPO Gallagher likely can’t get a “fair shake” from the Navy regarding any such admin process. The SECDEF has therefore directed that CPO Gallagher be allowed to retire at the end of this month, at his current rank (CPO) and without loss of SEAL qualification.

The moral to the story: trying to play “both sides against the middle” can be quite risky. That’s especially true when the attempt involves a contentious situation where your boss has taken heat for backing you publicly.

Doing something like that can get you fired, even if you’re the SECNAV.

Category: Military issues, Navy

Comments (57)

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  1. pookysgirl, WC wife says:

    Three years ago, when my husband and I were dealing with an Air Force that went to great lengths to avoid accountability, I thought it was a sign of how amoral the Air Force had become. Now I see that the Navy is having the same problem.

    INTEGRITY FIRST, people!

    • Anonymous says:

      Air Force has been that way for longer than three years… I don’t miss dealing with them. (Sad to see Navy feels it can be that way now.)

  2. Comm Center Rat says:

    And don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out!

  3. jimmyb says:

    You think that admiral got the message now?

  4. 2banana says:

    About time.

    Admirals acting like dictators.

    Like he would have put up with this from one of his subordinates for even a minute.

  5. Ret_25X says:

    Isn’t it interesting how the top brass preach loyalty, duty, honor, integrity, courage, and selfless service….but they don’t practice it?

    It’s almost as if officers are chosen for senior leadership positions based on a toxicity factor.

    • Ret_25X says:

      to be fair here…I’m not letting my own peers off the hook here either.

      There is no way this situation existed without some MCPO in the background pushing it forward.

      Show me a situation where some trooper is being railroaded, I’ll show you a senior NCO building the tracks for their CO.

  6. DaveP. says:

    Worth pointing out here: the SecDef just said, point blank, that he doesn’t trust Admiral Green’ integrity or his willingness to follow orders. Hope you like golf, Admiral. Sounds like you’ll have plenty of time to practice your game, right soon now.

  7. Club Manager, USA ret. says:

    SECNAV had to be visually impaired not to have seen his relief coming. Backdooring one’s boss at that level is indicative of being one dumb sonovabitch.

    • OWB says:

      You’d think so. But, too many of those folks seem to think they are Teflon, and that the world revolved around them, so some level of confusion about reality is understandable.

  8. FC2(SW)Ron says:

    The arrogance of this asshole: “I need a formal order to act,” Spencer said. He said of Trump’s tweets, “I don’t interpret them as a formal order”.
    If he were so concerned or confused about the position of the Commander in Chief, he should have PRIVATELY asked for clarity.

    Then he goes on to state: “I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States”. I for one would like to know what specific order the SecDef was so concerned about since he didn’t bother cite a specific order.


  9. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    “I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Spencer wrote in his letter to the President acknowledging his termination.

    Well good fucking riddance then…it’s one thing to say it violates your oath, it’s quite another to prove exactly how Mr. Spencer. The President told you he was exercising his power as CinC to restore Gallagher to rank and allow him to retire keeping his SEAL trident. What part of that from the President is an illegal act? Is the President utilizing powers outside those defined in our Constitution? No, consequently it’s not illegal and it is thus not a violation of your oath.

    You sir are full of shit.

    You are being terminated for being a rat bastard. Good riddance to you.

    • OWB says:

      Maybe he was referring to that other oath he took – not the one the rest of us took. You know, the secret one that only the mostest special of the special sparkle pony special people who know all and are better than the rest of us. Like, they just are better than us, because, you know, they say so.

      Giggling gargoyles, those folks make me sick.

    • LC says:

      Honest question: What are the limits of POTUS’s powers with regards to circumventing long-standing military processes? (In this case, the Trident Review Board.)

      Eg, if the board convened, decided to revoke his trident, could POTUS just order that they re-issue it?

      If so, and ignoring the outcry this would cause, could POTUS simply award a trident to someone who didn’t earn it?

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        Commander in Chief

        That is way more power than most people grasp. Unless something is spelled out in statute, then yes, he could. Look at how little is restricted in the text of the Constitution.

        Could is not should.

        But should not is not could not.

        Award one cold? Don’t know. Probably not, and not one that would be considered real by others earning it in any case. Could he say “By direction of the president, end all negative personnel actions. Reinstate any revoked items. Clemency is total.”

        I believe that would stand. Both as CinC and as per the “Pardon” power.

        Legal types? How far can one president go? Jackson flat out dared SCOTUS to enforce a “knock it off” ruling. Some of my distant kinfolk got deathmarched as a result.

      • Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

        LC the limit of his power over the troops is what Congress tries to define legislatively, with respect to things like the War Powers Act or the Constitution itself defines specifically.

        As there was never a Trident Review Board we can safely assume that’s not in the Constitution. Consequently we must look to see how Congress has tried to define that aspect of possessing the title CinC. They have not addressed it at any time.

        I suspect largely because it is a review board and not a function of taking the nation to war. Meaning the president is free to act on the recommendations of that review board or to counter those recommendations as commander in chief.

        He can choose to respect those officers in place, or he can decide those officers in place are motivated by something far beyond normal good order and discipline and are pissed off that someone they tried to railroad was acquitted of all charges except the photography with a dead guy…in poor taste perhaps but not requiring a court martial hearing and loss of benefits as a result.

        The president recognized a problem and as commander chose to intercede and set things right in his own personal view. No different than much lower level commanders have done since the dawn of military command structures.

        One can choose to disagree with the President’s actions certainly, however that in no way changes his authority to do so.

    • Anonymous says:

      James Comey said it better.

  10. Thunderstixx says:


  11. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    All I wanna say to EX-Secretary Spencer is this:

  12. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    Bye Felicia…

  13. RetiredDevilDoc8404 says:

    All he had to do was STFU, and do what he was told by his CIC. Nobody asked for his opinion, it wasn’t open to negotiation. Apparently once you reach a certain level you don’t have to lead by example – SECNAV doesn’t feel like doing it, Green thinks he’s the apparently the next thing closest to God on earth because SECNAV thinks playing games is a good idea. Hey, Admiral that rushing sound you hear? Yeah, that’s your career doing the tidy bowl shuffle.

    • Roh-Dog says:

      Every unit I’ve ever been in they’ve pushed an ‘open door policy’. Loosely its you can appeal to two-higher echelons for clarification of Commanders’ intent or what you believe to be improper or questionable orders/implementations.
      Respect and care of; the mission, the Constitution and your Troops done tactfully should always be the hallmark of a good Leader.
      All that mess being said, did the SECNAV use an ‘open door’ to seek guidance, or did the mealy SOB just stick his fingers in his ears and go ‘la la la’?

  14. Poetrooper says:

    How stupid do you have to be to publicly announce that your boss’s clearly stated wishes were insufficiently expressed, especially when you know your boss frequently uses the social media to communicate his intent?

    Spencer hails from the world of high finance so his duplicity is not unexpected. The admiral I’m not so sure about. He’s spent his career in SPEC WAR and looks like a true badass, so he may have been following orders from the palace of perfumed princes. Who knows?

    One thing–I’ll wager that Gallagher is the first CPO who ever got a Secretary of the Navy shit-canned.

  15. The grass looks Green er on the other side, so I imagine Green will be a commentator on the msnbc channel or the cnn channel which I never watch. Does cnn and mnnbc run the demo rat party or is it the other way around????

  16. USAF RET says:

    Hmmm……..Who would have thought that he would be expected to follow orders…? A tiger? In Africa?


  17. Martinjmpr says:

    Procedural question: I know the service secretaries “report to” the SecDef, but does the SecDef have the authority to fire them? For some reason I thought only the President could do that.

    Also, Hondo,in the 2nd sentence of the 2nd paragraph you inadvertently promoted Chief Gallahger from CPO to CWO (Chief Warrant Officer.) 😉

  18. Slow Joe says:

    I guess they don’t teach Civilian Control of the Armed Forces anymore.
    The American people elect a President, and he controls the armed forces. It is that simple.

    And by the way, this is one of the reasons we have 243 years of independence without one single military dictatorship, unlike, well, the rest of the entire friggin world!

    • MustangCryppie says:


      I seem to remember President Truman firing a 5 Star once.

      Hmmmm, what was that general’s name?

      • Commissioner Wretched says:

        Um … it’s right on the tip of my tongue … jeez, I know it like the back of my hand … what WAS that guy’s name?

      • Devtun says:

        Quirky thing that the 5 star was technically subordinate to the 4 star service chiefs (CJCS GEN Bradley was a 5 star).

  19. STSC(SW/SS) says:


    While you’re terminating the SECNAV maybe you can get rid of some of the other rif raf in the military.

  20. SteeleyI says:

    This lays out the case against the pardons pretty succintly:

    My prediction is that 75% of the responses to this will be attacks against the authors rather than responses to their ideas.

    • Mason says:

      There’s nothing new about presidents interjecting themselves in the military justice system. This really comes off as just a lot of never Trump BS.

      Trump hasn’t undermined the military justice system. He has the constitutional prerogative to issue pardons or clemency. It’s literally part of the military (and civilian) justice system for the president to have such power. Whether one disagrees with it or not, there’s no subversion or discrediting of the “system” when it’s part of the system and has been since before we had a standing army.

      Again, he’s not the first president to do this. In recent memory, Nixon gave William Calley house arrest after his conviction (while being appealed). Obama commuted Manning’s sentence.

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      The States elected him to exercise the power of the Executive, including Pardons and Clemency. He did so. I happen to think he was correct. I also think the path taken was a shrewd tactic to expose folks who weren’t playing by the rules. And look who got called on a balk.

      For at least a decade, guys have been getting fucked by unrealistic to insane “rules of engagement” that had everything to do with polishing a political turd and nothing to do with actually winning and ending wars.

      Trump just signaled, in a big brass band way, that times have changed. More, he just demonstrated to flag ranks that they are -not- tenured.

      Past due.

      And hopefully he gets other opportunities to dismiss one-way-loyalty types that have all but gutted our forces kissing political ass.

      Long past due.

      • SteeleyI says:

        My views on the Rules of Engagement are on record, so I won’t go into it again on this thread.

        To be clear, I would have fired Spencer if I were the SecDef. You can’t have guys refusing to obey lawful orders and going behind your back to the White House. No brainer.

        However, remember that the president picked Spencer- he is in no way, shape, or form a Never Trumper. Unfortunately for him, he was handed a Navy in serious trouble and failed to fix it. Not surprising in that he was basically an investment banker for most of his life and had no business being the SecNav.

        So, Spencer is gone and I would not be surprised to see Green go soon, one way or another. What is the next guy going to do to fix the SEALs, and what happens when they all start doing interviews with Pete Hegseth on Fox when they get their Captain’s Mast for refusing to take a drug test?

  21. 26Limabeans says:

    Resist he much.

  22. DefendUSA says:

    Did anyone else see the Fox Clip of Spencer saying that he would do the bidding of the CinC because that was what he signed up for..and then…we find he was usurping Chain of Command and essentially retaliating? JHC. You just can’t make this shit up!

  23. SFC D says:

    You’re an annoying little shit, ain’t ya? You make Jesus sad.

  24. Slowest Joe says:

    Damn. I missed Lily’s wisdom.
    By one second!

    AW1, can you be a little slower with the moderator sword, so we can read it before you send the post to the Bowels of Hell?

  25. Devtun says:

    Well, that was fast. Retired Rear Adm. Kenneth Braithwaite has been nominated to be next SECNAV.

  26. vetfromhell says:

    The President is Commander In Chief. Not soros, pelosi,vindman,brennan,schiff, nadler or any other lib goof that thinks they know better.Millennial libs go to wikipedia for history. Open a book FFS.