WASHINGTON (NNS) — As Acting Secretary of the Navy, I have directed the Chief of Naval Operations to terminate the Trident Reviews for three Naval Special Warfare officers. Given the unique circumstances of these three remaining cases, I have determined that any failures in conduct, performance, judgment or professionalism exhibited by these officers be addressed through other administrative measures as appropriate, such as letters of instruction or performance observations on their officer fitness reports.
The United States Navy, and the Naval Special Warfare Community specifically, have dangerous and important work to do. In my judgment, neither deserves the continued distraction and negative attention that recent events have evoked. Our special operators are part of a unique fighting force that has been at war for nearly 20 years. We ask them to meet a very high standard of competence in the use of deadly force, matched by an equally high standard for ethical behavior in combat. This expectation is no higher than the standard our special warriors have set for themselves. The SEAL ethos states this standard quite clearly:
“I serve with honor on and off the battlefield. The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other men. Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.”
My decision in these three specific cases should not be interpreted in any way as diminishing this ethos or our nation’s expectations that it be fulfilled. Navy uniformed leaders have my full confidence that they will continue to address challenging cultural issues within the Naval Special Warfare community, instill good order and discipline and enforce the very highest professional standards we expect from every member of that community. These are standards that scores of brave Sailors have given their lives to establish and preserve. It is our obligation to honor their sacrifice, and the values of our nation, in everything we do in peace, in crisis, but most especially in war. We can, we must, and we will get this right.
THOMAS B. MODLY
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