Naval War College Review


Mark F. Light


The U.S. Navy has an integrity problem in the ranks of its commanding of- ficers (COs). Consider these headlines: “Cruiser CO Relieved for ‘Cruelty.’”1 “CO Fired, Charged with Solicitation.”2 “CO of Attack Sub Fired for ‘Drunken- ness.’” These are just a few cases in a recent deluge of early reliefs of “skippers.” In 2010, twenty-three Navy COs were relieved of command and “detached for cause,” an enormous increase over previous years. The trend continues: twenty- one commanding officers were fired in 2011 as of the end of October.4 Even more worrisome is the fact that a large and increasing percentage of those dismissals are due to personal misconduct, such as sexual harassment, drunkenness, and fraternization.