Rear Adm. John Ring, the commander in charge of the joint task force that operates the controversial detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was reportedly removed from his post on Saturday by Adm. Craig Faller of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM).
According to an official statement released Sunday, “Commander, U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Navy Adm. Craig Faller, relieved U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John Ring, commander, Joint Task Force–Guantanamo, April 27, due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command,” said Col. Amanda Azubuike, public affairs chief for SOUTHCOM.
“U.S. Army Brig. Gen. John Hussey, JTF-GTMO’s deputy commander, has been designated the acting commander,” Colonel Azubuike continued. “This change in leadership will not interrupt the safe, humane, legal care and custody provided to the detainee population at GTMO.”
SOUTHCOM media spokesman Jose Ruiz said the decision was made after a month-long investigation into Admiral Ring, though he declined to offer any details regarding what prompted the investigation or what its findings might have been. Ring is temporarily reassigned to SOUTHCOM’s Miami headquarters. From there, he’ll receive a permanent reassignment.
“The vast majority of commanders complete their assigned tours with distinction,” said Azubuike. “When they fall short, we hold our leaders accountable, which reflects the importance we place on the public’s trust and confidence in our military leaders.”
A naval aviator by trade, Ring assumed command of Guantanamo Bay in April 2018. His previous roles included serving as the executive assistant to the U.S. Navy’s director of air warfare; command tours aboard the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and the dock landing ship USS Comstock; and as the commander of the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 113.
Guantanamo Bay was established as a detention center for terrorism suspects captured overseas throughout the global War on Terror, which commenced shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States. First stood up during President George W. Bush’s administration, Barack Obama campaigned in part on the promise to close Guantanamo Bay. However, throughout his eight years in office, President Obama only reduced the detention center’s overall population.
President Trump signed an executive order in 2018 to keep the facility open, and has since discussed the possibility of increasing the prisoner population. Currently, the Guantanamo Bay detention center houses some 40 prisoners.